Ah, Spring at last. This is the time of year for shaking off the winter blahs, and embarking on new beginnings. Jim, my energetic beau, has been hard at work in our yard pulling up dead shrubs, clearing out flower beds, spreading truckloads of mulch, and moving my beloved dogwood to a roomier spot where it can thrive. Meanwhile, I have been tackling an annual chore inside: cleaning out my closet. Every year, I am surprised (and a bit embarrassed) by how many clothes I have. This year, I have vowed to be ruthless in weeding out my closet. Some of the questions I have been asking myself are those that also seem appropriate for my work, and life in general.
What doesn’t fit anymore? This one might seem rather obvious, but this involves actually trying on the article of clothing. That can be an uncomfortable experience, confronting reality. Goodbye skinny pink jeans.
What is not age-appropriate? I laugh when I recall the time I had told a friend I wanted to look more professional, and after I sent her a few links to clothes that I really liked, she asked if I realized that every item was from the Junior’s Department. Whoops. An aside to those who don’t know me personally: I am no longer 17 years old. I just need to get my head around that fact.
What doesn’t reflect who I am today? Even if something fits (both my body and my age), there are things that I no longer feel like “me” when I wear them. Saying goodbye to my oversized floral prints was not hard, once I took the time to really ask myself “Is this really me?” Recognizing that I am not the same person, with the same tastes, preferences and wants as before, is key here.
What is too worn or tattered? We can all overdo a good thing. Casting an objective eye on a time-worn favorite can help us determine if we need to let go of something that has out-lived its usefulness. A fond farewell to my threadbare, super-comfortable gray sweatshirt (the cheers you hear are from Jim).
Conversely, what have I never worn, and why not? The answer is easy when it comes to that orange tank top; I don’t like orange at all, and the material is too scratchy. But that beautiful white jacket with the tags still on it gets to stay. It is a change from what I usually am drawn to, and I realize that I need to wear it and see how I feel in it. Some things that seem a little out of our comfort zone deserve to at least be given a chance.
What in your work or life doesn’t fit anymore? Are there behaviors, ways of thinking, or attitudes that could be refreshed, to better reflect who you are today? What do you need to let go of, to make room for new ideas, skills, relationships or approaches? If I can support you in exploring any of these questions, please call. Just don’t ask me to help you clean out your closet.
Sharon Keys Seal