Is it time to come out of the closet?

Do you have a dream sitting on a shelf in your closet waiting for ‘someday’? Did you always want to paint? Play the piano? Learn French? Become a stand-up comic? (Remember the movie Punchline?)

It may well have been the right decision years ago to shelve that dream. You had the kids, husband and mortgage to think about. It was too risky, once you started your family. But, what’s stopping you from going after that dream now? I’m not suggesting leaving your family and running away with the circus, but you could probably find someplace to try a swing on a trapeze.

Maybe it’s fear that’s holding you back? Fear is ordinary; common. We all have it. It can be a good thing, without a doubt. Fear is what keeps most of us from playing chicken with a speeding train. But, “If you cherish that fear and you give it all kinds of attention and you treat it like it’s something very special, it’s going to end up keeping you from what you really want.” (Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic) “…your fear [is] the most boring thing about you,” Gilbert says. “The most interesting thing about you is your creativity, your passion, your love, your joy, your faith — all that stuff is fascinating.”

Fear comes in all shapes and sizes – I couldn’t possibly… what would people think? …I’d be so bad at it …I’m too old. Hogwash. There’s probably never been a better time. You’re strong, you’re healthy, the kids are okay. They don’t need you every minute of the day. As much as that may dismay you, you actually have earned a bit of freedom. Besides, do you really want to be that crazy lady who waits ‘til she’s 80 to finally take up ballroom dancing? Why let her have all the fun?

Following your dreams is good for you. You know it. You’ll learn new things; expand you horizons. You’ll show courage and be an inspiration to others. You’ll like yourself more. It’ll make you happy and that happiness is contagious. Win-win.

How, you might ask? Well, you’ve heard of that vast, global phenomenon called the internet, right? Just hit that keyboard and start asking questions. I’d be pretty surprised if you won’t find something about your secret desire, e.g. Always wanted to breed pygmy goats? Or how to make your own wine barrels for home wine making?

Come on, let that dream out of the closet. Let it have some light and space to thrive. Make it ‘someday’ already. What have you got to lose?

What’s on your shelf, gathering dust in the closet? What are you going to do to out your passion? Share your story in the comments below.

Photo credit: wolfsavard via Visual Hunt / CC BY

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  • I have been thinking about this article for the past few days. Thought provoking. Did some soul searching on this one. Then it hit me. I tucked away some dreams when I became a mother for many of the reasons stated in the article.

    My friend, a stay-at-home dad, had tea at my kitchen table about a month ago. His nest is empty, as is mine. We had both decided to go back to the ‘before time’ to find what was left on the shelves of our closets, as it were. He was having real difficulty. I had started my exploration last year. But not until I read your article did I realize what I found there.

    I found my young woman dreams, and dusted them off. But the fit was off. I had changed in the intervening years. And so, I decided to look at each dream, and make a job of it. I would get up every day and go to work. I would work even if I was indifferent to the idea or project. It didn’t take too long until I found a new groove in an old dream. And that has made all the difference. Will my art rock the world? Nope. Doesn’t matter. The joy is in the doing. And I am loving it. My friend is still rummaging through his closet, But I think I see a new glint in his eyes.

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