I remember standing on the platform waiting to catch the mid-life train. Just biding my time, knew it was coming, no big deal. Wondering when it would arrive and how to make sure I got a good seat. My mind was kind of wandering. Thinking about other things.
Next thing I know I’m watching scenery roll by. My waist is a little, okay a lot thicker. I tire more easily, not feeling as maternal as I once did, curse words roll off my tongue with a new-found ease, eyebrows starting to need some filling in…….enough of that scenery. I Google “mid-life”. It’s generally considered ages 45-55…..shit! I’m past that. Scenery is starting to roll by at a faster clip. Exercise isn’t reversing this gravity and age thing. The requisite 8 hours of sleep has been toyed with by some hormonal gremlin beyond my control. I’m moving forward whether I want to or not.
Suddenly, my heart misses a few beats. I can feel the panic begin to rise. Did my bags make it on board? I didn’t pack light and I don’t remember wrestling them up the steps. Oh, My God! I must have left them on the platform. As my mind tries to take in the loss of my suitcases, a feeling begins to gently steal over me. I experience a brief, fleeting……oh, so exquisite sense of lightness.
I firmly crush it with the practiced hand of obligation. I’m not letting go of my baggage.
Which gets me thinking. What luggage do we need to pack for this leg of the journey? The financial advisor, the lawyer and the accountant will tell you to pack your 401(k), write your will, advance healthcare directive, power of attorney. The doctor will tell you to pack your vitamins, statins, blood pressure meds. The therapist will recommend a journal to record your thoughts, experiences, feelings. You need clothes – preferably ones with an elastic waistband and not prone to wrinkling. Don’t forget your camera, cell phone. That’s a lot to pull together – even if you’re one of those experienced travelers who’ve figured out how to be confident traveling light.
But I’m not talking about that luggage. I’m talking about the baggage. What you can’t stuff in a suitcase, fit in the overhead racks, or under the seat in front of you. I’m talking about the baggage stuffed into your thoughts, wrapped tightly around your heart, strapped to your creativity with way too much duct tape. The legacy baggage we’ve carried around on our backs from and for our parents, grandparents and society. The family baggage we’ve so effectively handed off to the backs of our children…..to the next generation. The baggage that most definitely puts us over the weight limit for travel. The bags with so many old labels, tags and stickers we’re no longer sure who they belong to – some were just sitting next to ours so we picked them up along the way. Just trying to do the right thing. That’s what I’m talking about. Did it make it on board?
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