I’ve been cleaning out my closet.
And I’m getting rid of a lot.
Not because they are too big.
Not because they are too small either.
But because they aren’t right for me.
Here we are, about to begin another year. Arguably, we begin a new year every day. But we, the “civilized people of the Western World” have chosen to designate January 1 as the beginning of a New Year, and it’s as good a date as any to spend in celebration and contemplation.
(Side note: birthdays are also good. Sundays too. As are Wednesdays and anniversaries and days of no consequence whatsoever except that they are your days to do with as you choose.)
So, in this week of celebration and contemplation leading up to the magical moment when the clock is reset and time begins anew, I spent some time reviewing my dreams.
They looked a lot like my closet often looks – some spots on the rack crowded with bright colors and rich neutrals while other spots show gaps where favorite wear-so-often-they-never-make-it-back-to-the-closet pieces are supposed to be. Fancy-frillies are hung at the far end where they are seldom noticed, while walk-the-dog hoodies snuggle up to speak-to-roomfuls-of-people jackets and skirts.
I gave myself the same challenge I periodically use to clean out my closet – “If you haven’t worn it in a year, if you don’t like the way it looks on you, if it worked for that one occasion but that occasion won’t ever come again, should it be taking up space in here?”
When addressing my closet, that usually results in a storm of fabric flying from racks to boxes, shoes thudding into donation bins, belts and purses pelting down from high shelves to join them.
I’ll pause now and again, running my fingers over some beautiful thing before I reluctantly admit it just isn’t “me.” Or wiping a tear as I lay some cherished, but no longer useful, item in the to-be-donated box, remembering when I bought it, where I wore it, the emotional threads inseparable from the silk and cotton.
But the time comes - I have to let them go.
Because, really, that burnt orange shade is hideous on me.
That cocktail dress is pretty, but I don’t want to go anywhere that I would wear it.
That jacket looks good, but I’m always fussing with the sleeves.
That old thing really IS an old thing – it’s worn thin with frequent wearing and washing and no miracle will make it look good again.
When I purge my closets I let go of anything that doesn’t serve me, whether it fits me or doesn’t.
Time to do the same with my dreams.
That dream that someone else thought was perfect for me? Gone.
The one that was so bright and full of possibility, until it went through the wringer a couple of times? Gone.
The one I so wanted to believe was real, until I saw the “faux” on the label? (That’s okay for leather and fur, but NOT okay for dreams.) Gone.
All boxed up and ready for someone else to pick up and wear.
So what is left?
The true dreams. Not the dreams already come true, but the dreams that are truly mine.
Are some of them too big for me now? Sure. But I love them enough to grow into them.
Are some of them so bright and bold that I have a moment of doubt, wondering if others will judge me for choosing them? Sure. But I love how I feel when I wear them, and that is the only judgment that matters.
Are some of them a little revealing? Sure. But I have nothing to hide.
I’m keeping only the dreams that make me feel good, that make me feel like the me I like best. I’m keeping the dreams that make me feel like dancing, like running, like jumping for joy.
Everything else has to go.
Because when you choose your dreams, it isn’t about dreaming big.
It’s about dreaming true.