Baggage. Every day you collect a little bit more. Eventually, you collect enough that it makes you slow to move forward.
“Can’t you just drop the baggage and run?” my friend asked me one day.
Sure, I can drop anything and run, but sometimes you just get tired of running, and when you slow down to take a breath, you realize that someone has taken the time to return the baggage you thought you left behind.
It’s hard to know when it’s right to move on after a hard breakup. Some people say the faster you can forget someone, the better.
People have different ways of dealing with relationships once they’ve ended. I’ve adopted a popular strategy – see no evil, feel no evil. After seven years of couplehood, I figured it was time for me to be my own girl instead of someone else’s, and I relished in being as carefree as I wanted.
Hard, tough, jaded. I’ve been called it all, and it has all been well deserved.
The baggage was there, and I admit I never put it down for a second. Instead, I used it to shield myself from the crowds, occasionally using it to give a hard shove to those who thought they could get in my way. Maybe I’ll be able to move on when I meet someone who will shove me right back. Someone who is so preoccupied with their own baggage that they don’t care to notice mine. Someone who doesn’t try to get me to hold their hand instead of my baggage. Someone who doesn’t expect me to reach out and take their baggage from them.
“You don’t want someone with baggage,” people have said.
Once upon a time, I would have dished out the same advice. Now I’m not so sure.
Would I trade my baggage? Never! I cherish all the lessons and experiences I’ve had in my 28 years, no matter how awkward or painful.
I’d like to think I’ve learned from my experiences and that they’ve made me who I am. That’s also the “beauty” of baggage: it builds character. It allows us to look forward with confidence and lets us make decisions with distinction.
The danger is not in holding onto the baggage, but in turning it into one big clutch. It’s so easy to use the past as an excuse not to move forward.
But we have to remember: where would any of us be without our past? The very essence of Jewish peoplehood is based on baggage. And a lot of it. Some of it was horrific (I know Holocaust survivors who still can’t bear to open up and tell their story), and some of it was glorious. And I can confidently say that we’re one of the strongest, most united people on earth, and it’s all because of our baggage.
I know that when my time will come to unpack my baggage, the person by my side will be respectful of what comes out.
Because that’s what we do with memories. We hold on to them and we know they’ll always be at the back of our minds. But at some point, the memories become just a memory, and the baggage can be tucked away.