Live life in 2023

By Tracy Brandenburger Miller, TRP staff

    With the new year comes many resolutions—to lose weight, save money, travel more—goals many people make but never keep. The Mind, Body and Spirit pages in this week’s Cuba Free Press, Steelville Star, and Saint James Press contain articles on how to improve your life in 2023. Improving your life can come in many forms—mentally, spiritually, financially, physically—you just have to take the first step. Life is short. Live it.

    To experience life to the fullest, you should be prepared for death. That’s a strange comment, right? We have all lost loved ones, some had their affairs in order, others did not. As an only child of an only child with no children, it’s important I have my affairs in order. While my husband, Joe, will be the beneficiary for most things, what happens if we were to die in a car accident together?
    It’s good to keep a list of your vehicles, accounts, and any other important documents your loved ones need after your death.
    Every vehicle you own should have a TOD (Transfer on Death) included on the title. Upon the owner’s passing, the TOD beneficiary simply needs to present the title and a certified copy of the owner’s death certificate to the license office and a new title will be issued in the TOD beneficiary’s name. Adding a TOD is simple and can be done at the license office.
    Checking accounts, saving accounts and certificates of deposits (CDs) should have a POD (Payable on Death) which allows the money remaining in the account when the account owner dies to pass directly to the beneficiaries named by the account owner. You can add a POD to your account at any time.
    An authorized signer on a checking account has access to the funds within the account, even if they are not the owner of the account. Authorized signers can sign checks and withdraw or deposit funds without having to ask the owner for permission. Adding an authorized signer can be done at any time and usually just requires new signature cards for the account. This should be someone you trust with your account since they will have access.
    Be sure to include a beneficiary on your home (or other real estate), an IRA, or a life insurance policy. Having a beneficiary listed will allow those things to pass directly to that person after your death.
    Funeral expenses are costly. Do you have the money to pay for a funeral for you or your spouse? If you do, set that money aside or make the prearrangements so that’s something your family doesn’t have to take care of. If you don’t, do you have family that can afford to pay for your funeral expenses?
    While the funeral home does a great job of getting information for your obituary from family, why not have that information ready for when the time comes? A loved one’s death is one of the most stressful times of your life and it’s hard to remember certain things. I have information for my immediate family listed with bullet points for things I can add. It will make things much easier for them and it will help the funeral home.
    Enough about death, start living in 2023!
    Make 2023 the year for trying new things. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language or go ziplining. Go for it! The new year is going to be about restaurant road trips for Joe and me. Missouri is a big state with lots of places to explore and lots of places to enjoy food. Our goal is to try a new restaurant in a town in Missouri once a month.
    We ended 2022 with a road trip to Fulton for my birthday in November. Pizza at Ohana Pizzeria for lunch and funnel cake fries at 1851 Underground Bar & Grill for dessert. We tried Muddy Banks Brewing Co. in Sullivan in December and had one of the best burgers we’ve ever had. I can’t wait to see what new places we’ll discover in 2023. If you’ve eaten at a restaurant you think we should include on our list, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let me know!
    Until you distance yourself from the negativity in your life, you honestly don’t realize how much it affected your life. Is there someone in your life that always has a problem, is always complaining about something? Everyone vents to others at times. We all have our own problems, why do we need to add to someone else’s problems as well? Less stress will lighten your mind and body.
    Spread kindness everywhere you go. Send a card to a friend you haven’t talked to for a while, or better yet, send a card to an elderly person you know in the community. It’ll brighten their day to receive an unexpected hello. It’s also nice to share extra baked goods or a delivered meal with an older neighbor who might not cook for themselves. For the last several years, I’ve printed vintage valentines and we’ve delivered them to the residents at the local nursing homes. Just do something nice for someone else.
    Make a lunch or dinner date with someone you haven’t seen in a while. Catch up. We all say we’ll get together soon, but most never do. And we know how short life can be. Make time and visit, whether it’s with family or friends.
    Find a hobby. I love to read, enjoy genealogy and going on road trips. Others enjoy crafting, crosswords or running. Find something you enjoy, and you may find others that enjoy the same thing.
    Volunteering has changed a great deal since the pandemic but there are still organizations that need volunteers such as the food pantry and senior center. You can also give your time by joining an organization such as the Kiwanis or Lions Club. Ask around the community and see where you can help.
    If you have the means to give monetary donations to organizations that need it, you should. Our family makes donations to the Cuba Animal Shelter as well as many of the cemeteries where loved ones are buried to help with mowing expenses throughout the year. We also order items from FFA and 4-H members during their annual fundraisers. There are several clubs at the schools that also do fundraisers during the year. Donations can also be items no longer needed. Books can be donated to the library for their annual sale; clothes and household items can be donated to places like Bargains for Missions or the Caring Center.
    Make 2023 a great year. Improving things in your life won’t happen overnight, but you have 365 days to make a change. Start one day at a time.