Luggage & Baggage & Totes… Oh My

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Luggage. Baggage. Totes. To most people, most of the time, for the most part, these things bring on images of travel and adventure. Movement and destinations. Fun and excitement. Accessorizing and accentuating.

But to others, it might have quite another, less positive, meaning: evidence of a less-than-ideal past.

We all have baggage. Whether we’re married, divorced, single, with kids, without kids, living with our parents, living on our own or living with way too many cats. Baggage is just a trendy way of saying that we’re all a bunch of emotional hoarders.

Even those who claim they don’t have any baggage, usually bury their emotions deep down packed up tight in one of those plastic bags that can be attached to their vacuum in hopes of sucking out all of the hurt and memories of what brought them to be.

No. Such. Luck.

I tried it.

There’s no way to escape or deny that a woman my age doesn’t have a matching set of emotional baggage. In today’s world, there are 20-somethings who have a tote or two of their own.

Some would say that in order to get on with life, one must do away with their baggage. For most of us, it’s not only practically impossible, it’s also kind of foolish. Our baggage can serve as good reminders.

The key is in how you choose to distribute the contents inside. The stuff that belongs, you just come to understand why it belongs and you’re careful to pack it well. If it’s not something you’ve learned from, either figure out it out or leave it behind. At least, that’s what I’ve learned from my baggage.

For many of us, there may be a few things packed inside that are incredibly heavy. But they don’t always weigh us down.

Personally, I have my seasons where my baggage can slow me down. In those times, I really wish they didn’t exist at all. But I can’t go through life without them. They remind me of where I’ve been and that I’m not done traveling.

I don’t lug them around just because… I need them.

There are long stretches of time when they are hardly noticeable. They just sit in a corner. They aren’t in my way but they are there. I notice them, in passing, but they don’t affect my day to day life. They’re exactly where I put them. They remain in place. Waiting for me to add another experience to them. There’s always going to be an experience to add to them. It’s part of the journey.

For a middle-aged, single mom, like myself, most times the weight of my baggage can be as easy to carry as a fashionable attaché but I have my moments when they can be as hefty as a steamer trunk. And sometimes when I’m faced with having to travel to old, familiar places, I get a little overwhelmed and unnecessarily over pack.  Case in point, taking a voyage into any realm of the dating world. For most women ‘my age,’ It can be… well…  quite a trip.

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Oh sure, many of us hop aboard with more than a snap-sack when compared to less (cough, cough) experienced women. But the difference between most of us and our younger counterparts (aside from the fact that they probably don’t need the underwire or the hair-dye or the concealer) is that we know how many pieces of luggage we have and what’s inside of them.

More importantly though, we know which bags a potential suitor can help us carry and which ones, no matter how chivalrous he is, he will have to let us carry ourselves.

Wisdom will dictate that last part.

When going through any excursion, as we trek along, sometimes some of the contents in our bags may shift and things can get thrown out of whack.  Most of the time, it’s no big deal. We can just readjust things or ask a friend to help carry them. We might even realize we don’t need what’s in a few of those bags, after all, and we can just leave them behind. Those are all great moments and add to the quest.

And then there’s the one bag with that one thing in it that you need to keep close and handle on your own. Maybe someone might ask if they can help you with it. Odds are, it’ll be the well-intentioned guy in the next aisle with the sweet smile. But know your stuff well enough to know when to say, “Thanks, but not this one.”

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Don’t be mistaken, there will always be that one bag that each of us has to handle on our own. No man or woman or parent or best-friend or favorite child can help us with it. It probably seems bigger and heavier than all the rest.  It holds within it the stuff that make up the parts of us that we hate the most.

It stores the darkest hurts we’ve ever felt from pilgrimages life took us on that we never, ever would’ve planned to take on our own. The roads that lead us to ugly, scary places. Places where the only souvenirs we came back with are ones that left us so scarred, we cannot even remember what that scathed part of us used to look like.

We all have that one bag. That mangled, used, tattered, ugly piece that we want to keep hidden from the world but we, ourselves, can’t seem to get away from. No matter how much we try to leave it behind.

Here’s a little secret, most people don’t see your bag as mangled and used and tattered and ugly. Most of people see it for what it is… proof that you’ve been there… you’ve done that…. and you made it back.

Not only did you make it back. You made it back with stories to tell. Some are amazing because they were beautiful. Some are amazing because they were excruciating. All are amazing because they are all part of your adventure. And who, in their right mind, would come back from an adventure without some baggage?

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YOU BELONG HERE.

Momastery is an open window. It’s a place to take a deep breath. It’s a place to drop out and tune in. It’s a place to stop striving, stop competing, stop suspecting, stop hiding. To hear and tell truth. Mother Teresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that We Belong to Each Other.” If we find peace here- it’s because we remember. Glennon Doyle Melton — http://momastery.com/carry-on-warrior

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