“To accumulate is to live as if you are not going to die.”
Well – have you got a lot of clutter and things which no longer serve you?! They are called “possessions” in case you were wondering… YOURS!!
However you may try to not think about it…all roads lead to the same conclusion – “Wormsville”.
Therefore, coming to terms with your possessions and decisions around the accumulation throughout a lifetime is a necessary and timely action. One of the first realisations that takes place is that much of what you own and have in your home / environment as you get to be a senior is often superfluous to requirements. The next realisation is that there is often a LOT MORE than you expect – when you really look about you. We all get so use to what is about us that we forget how much there is.
All of your stuff–much like yourself – is destined for landfill. It’s a fact of death that our once-treasured possessions will be often ditched unceremoniously. Your sci-fi paperbacks will not be gently escorted to the local library and shelved with a little plaque with your name on it. Your record collection will not be sealed into the tomb with you.
You’re not Tutankhamun. You’re not even Nefertiti! Get over yourself and your own desire for recognition in posterity!!
Our stuff is unlikely to be used or valued by descendants. They’ll see it as a nuisance and want to get rid of it as quickly as possible because they already have too much stuff without inheriting ours. They’ll probably handle some of it affectionately and say “silly old gran,” or shed some tears over some long-lost photos and the like; before selling it off in one big lot to a clearance company or booting it into a bin.
Maybe you don’t mind what you leave behind or the state in which you leave the world once you’re dead. You may not be fussed about having people to clean up after you while you’re shaking hands with friends in Heaven – it may be every human’s choice and option. A form of palliative care to which we’re all entitled.
But, to me it seems mean-spirited to make things difficult for the “life-laundry fairies” by leaving them as big a cache of junk to tackle as possible. It should be seen as embarrassing to die with so much stuff in one’s possession: it’s a case of “sorry I didn’t tidy up before you got here”, times a million.
So what is the answer? Minimalism isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea.
One of the interesting distinctions is that minimalism is closely related to death acceptance.
Acquisition is death denial.
To accumulate is to live as if you’re not going to die. That is quite a thought isn’t it? ..Not necessarily a bad one either – what would it be like to have less burden from some of your possessions?
To have a house full of stuff, a storage unit full of more stuff, and a room at your mum’s house also full of your stuff is to live as if you’ve got an eternity to sort it all out or to use it all. We don’t.
Death deniers, those who won’t come to terms with their glorious finity, will also spend time and money on youth potions, midlife crisis mobiles, and other endless distractions from mortality. They treasure their so-called investment pieces, sitting around on their trash heap of perceived wealth like an overlord.
Those who truly accept death know they don’t need any of this and instead live lightly, understanding that no amount of physical stuff will cancel their date with death. Nor will it enhance their lives as they are now or going forward.
Accept death, prepare for it, and in doing so – get on with life. A fine way of doing this is to pare down your stuff and not replace it. Then you can get on with having real experiences instead of shopping and stacking things on top of one another. This sort of purge is respectful of your stuff too: you can say goodbye to each object properly while you’re still alive instead of leaving it bereaved.
So what are the advantages of minimalism?
- It is good for the environment
- You can recycle
- You can reuse
- You can reduce
- It saves you space
- It saves you money
- It saves you time
- It saves you energy
- It gives you opportunities to have real relationships vs virtual ones
- It is better for the beauty and aesthetics of your home
- It is good for your mental wellbeing
- It stops you getting overwhelmed
- You get more energy and a feeling of aliveness
- It is also good for your death and what happens after!
Does this seem a good enough reason to become more limiting of what and how much you own?
By becoming more discerning and determined about what you have and keep will ultimately improve all your wellbeing.
The secret though is knowing how to organise and start to de-clutter your possessions and your life. This is partly what Great Guidelines for Later Life has been created for – this is a conversation which spans all areas of life. The “how” to do this is the subject for another day though!
At least it is food for thought which is a beginning.
Are you a minimalist or a maximalist – or “life just seemed to turn out that way” – i.e. a fatalist who takes little action for themselves?
© Great Guidelines for Later Life. 2017 All Rights Reserved.
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Gayle Palmer, the creator of Great Guidelines for Later Life - The world’s most thorough, comprehensive and supportive, one-stop resource for all seniors and their families who are ready to get their lives in order before they die AND help them to live out their days having a life they love, clear in the knowledge that they have done everything they need to. She has developed various courses, programmes and workshops for seniors and their families to work through, leaving no stone un-turned.
Gayle’s experience of over 25 years as an Osteopath, treating thousands of people and helping them through similar worries and concerns only strengthens her knowledge and commitment to you too. Her expertise is not only in the physical realm but emotional, mental and spiritual too. All Rights are Reserved.