What Makes a Life Well Lived?

As more and more of us declutter and downsize, we find ourselves having practical and philosophical discussions about the purpose and meaning of life. Life and stuff are so intertwined that at some point, we may very well think about what makes a life well lived as we deal with our stuff.

Recently, I attended a celebration of life for my uncle Gerard. Since then, the topic of a life well lived has been at the forefront of my mind. My beloved uncle touched everyone he met and spent most of his adult life fighting for equality. He penned hundreds of articles, won numerous awards, and wrote a book entitled A Passion for Equality,” chronicling his personal journey.

Which begs the question, what makes a life well lived? Well, the answer to that depends on who you ask. Here are my thoughts based on many conversations over the last 20 years of learning about people by helping them navigate their stuff and their life.

Owning Things That Make You Smile

I choose to live a more minimalist life than most. However, I am by no means suggesting that you do not collect and keep things that make you happy. While I don’t have much stuff in my home, the things I do have (that I do not classify as “useful”) make me smile. One of those things is a piece of art by Melissa Townsend featuring an owl named Alice. Another piece is by Ian Gilson, which we named “Cooper.” Please surround yourself with objects that make you smile, not those you may be ambivalent or sad about.

painting of an owl's head in the bottom right corner of the frame - representing a well-lived life

Having a Beautiful Home

Having things that bring you joy means you are as happy as possible with the place you chose to return to at the end of a busy day. As professional organizers, we help bring order to your home and life. And for many people, a large part of that is having a beautiful home. In my work as an interior decorator, I get to help bring practical and beautiful things together to give your home a style and personality that reflects how you like to live. That may be with very little in a clean, tidy, white, minimalist, yet comfortable space. Or it might be with bold colours, decorative accessories, and even a little bit of disorder. Who am I to say what works for you?

statue of humanized bird in dark blue paint with a hat on top with a chimney sticking out of it, representing a life well-lived

Find Your Purpose

It takes some people their entire life to find their purpose, and I am guessing that some of us never do, and that’s ok. Perhaps your purpose seems less impressive than my dear uncle’s, but it is equally important. It can be anything from raising a family, enjoying fulfilling work, or volunteering for a much-loved cause. Your purpose in life can help guide you as you move from one phase of life to the next. You will also be better prepared to decide how to deal with your possessions. If your stuff helps you pursue your purpose, then it is important. And if your purpose is to create a welcoming environment in your home for family and friends to enjoy, that will help you make decisions about home improvements and major purchases as well.

Many other factors are part of a life well lived. I would like to hear about some of yours.

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