Spring Cleaning

Hilma af Klint Altarpieces No.1

One quarter of the country has been vaccinated, quarantines are being lifted, and I feel like one of those fumbling newborn antelope plopped down in the wide-open Serengeti with ten minutes to learn running before the lions arrive. I, and countless others with whom I’ve been in conversation over this past year, have changed. Our priorities have shifted, values realigned. We’re worried about losing ourselves out there. We want to go back. We don’t want to go backwards.

I’m thinking maybe we could take a cue from Marie Kondo and just toss out the bits of ourselves that don’t spark joy anymore so that we can more clearly see and hold fast to the new, still tender bits we’re so afraid of losing. I’m thinking it could be very powerful if, on these initiatory days of spring, this long bewitched portal of rebirth and renewal, we finally just murdered the dreams of our 20-year-old selves (or our 40-year-old-selves or our last-year-selves or whatever dreams of whatever old self need to die)!

I know this sounds dramatic, but I’m thinking it ought to, you know, in order to be effective. I guess I’m just imagining all kinds of voluminous freedom that might open up inside of us if we were to ceremoniously send all those old dreams out to pasture. I’m actually thinking that the very engine of our lives runs on dead dreams, as in, we can’t spring forward, we don’t actually get to experience a new life, until we let something that used to matter to us, something that’s supposed to matter to us, something that everyone else still thinks matters to us, die.

What if we said right now to 20-Year-Old Us – I know this was your thing and it was fun while it lasted but life is change and this is just too heavy for me to keep carrying around – and then whoosh we’re suddenly twenty feet off the ground, light as a feather, with sure maybe not an earthly clue which direction to go but sweet Jesus do we feel tingly and freshly alive with the whole world sparkling brand new below us.

I guess I’m just wondering if the newer, wiser us, the Us-Of-Right-Now, has dreams of their own that are a little different, maybe even yes-I-know boring to the old us, but kind of dare-I-say electrifying to the new us, except we haven’t been able to fully see these dreams, to really get to know them and embrace all their wild possibilities because we’re still burdening ourselves with all that dead weight.

Listen, I think I’m most definitely saying kill your dreams…….. life is waiting.

🐣

*This essay is from this month’s Museletter. Sign up here.
**Painting by Hilma af Klint, “Altarpieces No.1”, 1915

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