Staying focused on the big picture

On Friday, my grandmother turned 100 years old. She is an amazing woman, and turning 100 is just one more accomplishment in her incredible life.

My grandmother’s birthday has me thinking about a phrase that I often repeat to myself:

Even if you live to be 100, life is short.

It’s a reminder to me to not procrastinate and to stay focused on what matters most. There are only 24 hours in a day, and I want to spend those hours focused on what is important to me — sharing with others my passion and knowledge of simple living, embarking on new adventures with those I love, and nine other priorities for my life.

Uncluttering is about clearing the distractions that get in the way of your remarkable life. Once the distractions are gone, you can pursue your priorities and make the most of your life.

My life’s motto is to Carpe Vitam — Seize Life — and my grandmother is a testament to this form of living. I’m glad to have such a happy reminder of this concept as we celebrate her birthday.

15 Comments for “Staying focused on the big picture”

  1. posted by Another Deb on

    It is ironic that the urge to collect and the accumulation of large numbers of objects is sometimes thought of as a bid for immortality, yet the stuff ends up getting in the way of the more valuable aspects of living.

    Life is not a contest for stashing stuff. I’ve seen the bumper stickers “She who dies with the most fabric wins” for quilters, but it could apply to anything; yarn, tools, books, or sets of commemorative plates. I guess I had better look at my craft supplies and see how my life expectancy aligns with all that scrapbook paper!

  2. posted by Michele Connolly, Get Organized Wizard on

    So true!

    I often come across books and resources that try to convince you that being organized is some great achievement – an end in itself.

    To me, personal organization is simply a way of living that helps you get the things you *really* want. It’s a means to greater clarity and happiness.

    BTW – happy birthday to your Grandmother, Erin. My Dad turned 95 this month.

    Michele 🙂

  3. posted by Laura Gillespie on

    This post came at *just* the right time after a frustrating weekend of contemplating the inheritance of many lovely collectibles from my deceased aunt recently. She treasured so many family heirlooms and I struggle with feeling like I am not honoring her if I don’t keep everything. I have a small apartment and keep shuffling things around, but know I’ll be happier if I can clear enough room to really *breathe*. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. posted by Brandon Green on

    A great reminder!

  5. posted by Chessiq on

    Congrats, and happy birthday!
    I intend to get rid of lots of stuff in the next 2 months as I move, and I have to rethink how I “dress” my new place. Hopefully, I will dress it like I dress myself, “essentials only”!
    Thanks for the reminder to keep what’s important as the center of our thoughts and activities.

  6. posted by Dawn F on

    I think one of the hardest things for me to do is to remove “people” distractions – friends, family, neighbors who cause more harm than good. It’s quite hard to remove those types of distractions or minimize contact with them in an effort to keep my sanity and live a happier life.

    There are 2 family members, a “friend” and some neighbors of mine that can be so heartless, cold and downright ugly sometimes (total distractions in my life). The more I minimize my exposure to them, the happier I am. It can be hard sometimes though…

    Thanks for this post – it’s always good to have a reminder that Life Is Short! and to make the most out of your precious life!

  7. posted by Anita on

    Happy birthday to your grandmother, Erin!

    Speaking or irony, I’m reading this while procrastinating at work… which is not to say I don’t appreciate the reminder of focusing on what matters. 🙂

  8. posted by Gina on


    I’ve struggled with that issue myself. I’ve come to the point where I’ve decided it’s enough to keep only a few representative things — those things that mean something about the person you’ve lost to YOU.

    You can’t make yourself responsible for keeping THEIR treasured items. Think of it this way — would you really want somebody you love to feel like they had to take on ownership of your prized possessions to honor you? I bet not — and I bet your aunt would understand if you found creative ways to pass some of her treasured heirlooms to other family members or somebody else who would treasure them.

    In my case I’ve passed on lots of things, choosing to keep only a small handful of items that are manageable. And I’m turning a century worth of photos and memorabilia into a couple of scrapbooks dedicated to family — a lot of it taking place before my time.

    Hang in there and find the right balance for you. It’ll be ok to let some things go. Don’t let yourself hold on to stuff if you’ll resent it.

  9. posted by Rachel on

    Hi, do you have any suggestions for organizing the entertainment center?

  10. posted by Peter on

    I agree. I’d rather not get to my death bed wishing my life had been different. I wrote a post about this on my site here

  11. posted by Sky on

    Living to 100 is quite an accomplishment! I’m interested to know if she is uncluttered.
    I think when we are old and look back on our life, we remember our loved ones, experiences and traditions….not inanimate objects.

  12. posted by Another Deb on

    Older folks often regret not being able to drive their own cars as they get up in years. Our society is now so technology-gadget driven that I wonder if we will grieve the day we have to give up our computers and cellular onjects as we age, or if we will then discover a new joy in letting it go. I, for one am wondering how many more years I can stand to hunch over this desk on my free time!

  13. posted by Corey J Feldman on

    Happy Birthday to your grandmother. What a wonderful reminder, the more we can do to stay organized and on task the more time we have to share with our family and friends!

  14. posted by queenofkaos on

    I loved this statement – “Uncluttering is about clearing the distractions that get in the way of your remarkable life.”

    That’s been my mission as well over the past years. It’s a journey as much as a destination but so well worth the effort. And so true.

    On the flip side, clutter of all kinds can rob us of so much. Life really is too short to waste on clutter (I was just thinking that very thing this morning!).

    I choose Carpe Vitam too, thanks for this great reminder.

  15. posted by Life Is Too Short | Queen of KAOS - on

    […] it happened, Unclutterer has an article about this very thing called Staying Focused on the Big Picture. It's short, worth taking the time to […]

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