Last weekend I began to clean out my clothes closet. I don’t know if you have ever found this, but I can’t believe how much stuff I had crammed in that small space. I pulled out things I didn’t really like, items that were falling apart and pieces I haven’t worn in years. Once committed to the activity, it didn’t take long to put things in yes and no piles. And the end result – peace, joy, space, order. Not just in my closet, but in my head every time I opened the door.
Earlier this year I realized my calendar was in a similar state as my closet – full, packed, overcrowded. I knew it was time to make a change.
Unlike my closet, however, the yes/no decisions were more complicated. I was not choosing between an old and outdated sweater and a well-fitted jacket in my favourite colour. My calendar was a closet full of jackets.
So I began a process of disentangling my life and identifying which pieces fit into my life now.
Was I hanging onto it because I cared about the person who gave it to me?
Was it past its prime? What was taking time and energy but not moving me forward?
Did it reflect the person I am today or was it more about the person I was in the past?
I am about 75% done this process and it is a relief. It’s been hard to say good-bye to groups that involve people I care about and activities that have been a part of my life for some time. I have had to ask for and been ready to receive support from a people around me as well.
Doing too much of what we love can be a source of stress and burnout. Every now and then we ought to pause and really think about who we are today. Do the activities, people and even the stuff we hold onto reflect our true selves? Are we creating a barrier for something new by holding on to items from our past that don’t really work any longer?
Whether we are talking about our closets or our calendars, a good spring clean is well worth the effort. Increasing simplicity and clarity will produce a better focus on the life we really want.