I don’t think anyone gets to hit their thirties without carrying some baggage. The twenties are a period where we practice at adulthood, and when we screw up (as we are all wont to do), we have the most reasonable explanation in the world – “I’ve never been an adult before, this whole on-your-own thing is new to me.” Basically the twenties are life’s Mulligan (no I don’t play golf, but my husband does and I love the idea that someone can get a do-over just by asking for it).
The blessing and curse of growing up is the amount of luggage you need to carry. The smaller suitcase from childhood holds irrational insecurities, the first glimpses of the unfairness of life and the undergarments of self-doubt (has to be underwear, cause it’s light and carrying something too heavy is very tough on a child’s back). The valise packed to capacity with the hurts of adolescence, the pain of unrequited love and the romance of love that involves back seats (unless you’re from NYC – no back seats available because no one drives), passed notes in class and hallways, whispers and every love song written with your love in mind and promises that typically get broken. The passionate belief that you know who you are and the equally jarring awareness that you have no idea what-the-hell-you’re-talking-about. By the time we enter our late teens and early twenties, we’re probably carrying at least one suitcase, a couple of carry-ons and a backpack. And that’s presuming that life hasn’t over-burdened us. I won’t belabor the decades that follow, for each brings another piece of luggage with a personalized I.D. tag. I’m not even sure if we get a pair of wheelies.
At the end of the day, we’re all juggling an awful lot of baggage. Whether you are a life partner, friend, or a supervisor of other people – recognize this fact. I have had the unparalleled joy of working with bosses who picked up a suitcase for me on occasion, so that I could bust through a challenge that I was struggling to successfully meet. I have been the supervisor who happily let my colleagues know where they could store their luggage so that they had freedom of movement and a chance to feel lighter. Sometimes they never came back to claim their stuff – and that was just fine with me. I have also had bosses who intentionally opened my baggage to see if they could add to its weight (I’ve since bought some luggage locks) – or gave me one more piece to hold.
So from where I sit this morning (in the kitchen at the round table, btw) after a tough night with little sleep and the vulnerability that comes from feeling a little too uncomfortable, I think how lucky I am that my husband helps with my luggage. How much I try to help him lighten his load. There is a point in all of our lives when we realize that we’re holding on to more than we need to – and if you have people around who can help you unpack a little, sort through the worn out stuff that no longer fits and discard that with historic expiration dates – offer up a thank you and just think how much lighter you feel. Happy Wednesday my friends – smile.