I have never heard a person dying say “I wish I had a bigger house” or “I never got that car I always wanted”. It is during those moments that you hear how much they love family and friends, memories of good times with the people in their lives, and spiritual beliefs of where they’re going next. When we can look at our own mortality and picture what will really be important in the end, we can put in perspective what is important RIGHT NOW. Media and society tells us that the more possessions we have, the more money we have, and the prettier/more handsome we are makes us happy. It’s a lie we can so easily get caught up in. It’s not bad to have fun, look attractive, or own nice things; but when those things start robbing you of peace it becomes a burden instead of a gift. Talk to anyone living beyond their financial means and in debt on how much stress the things that they thought would make them happy are causing them the opposite.
From my own experience with my father’s death I have learned what really matters and it has enabled me to look at my life in this world as only temporary. At the end of my father’s life he told me he saw Heaven and I could tell he saw something he could not describe. It was beautiful, I could see it in his eyes. I have only a handful of possessions from his life, mostly military memorabilia, pictures and a few personal items. In the end, what mattered to me was my memories of him. He couldn’t bring any of the possessions with him and from what I saw, he didn’t care. I now look at the things of this world as not that important and I ask myself if a purchase is really necessary and will it add or detract from my life. Whatever your beliefs are, we can universally look at our mortality and assess what is important. This gives us the ability to let go of items not serving us during our short stay here on earth.
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” – Viktor Frankl
As we reach our 50’s, 60’s and beyond, the years seem to go by faster. This is also the time where we are left with all the stuff we accumulated through raising children or living life with a younger perspective which we certainly outgrow. With age comes wisdom and we usually start reassessing our lives and the way we are living it. However, the sheer amount of possessions accumulated tend to be overwhelming at this stage of life. Downsizing starts to become a reality and even a desire for some at this stage in life.
Looking at our own mortality helps us move into action as it puts in the forefront what is truly meaningful in our life and what is not. Each person is on a different journey and what is important to one may not be to another. As we look into what will be important in our last days, we also need to look at how we can enrich our lives NOW and not deter us from peace and joy while living life. Clutter steals peace. Ask anyone who has accomplished getting rid of their clutter and they will tell you the joy and peace it can bring. Ridding yourself of clutter means not leaving a mess for your family after you are gone. My mom is doing this now. She only has what she needs with the thought that she can’t take it with her and she does not want to burden her children after she passes. What a gift to those left behind!
Whatever your age or personal reasons are for embarking on clearing clutter and organizing your surroundings, keeping your mortality in mind is a great guide in making decisions. Life is meant to be lived, live it with intention, peace, and joy.