I once spent a summer in the Rockie Mountains, working at a golf course and living 1000 ft up a mountain. You have to understand that packing for this was quite the endeavour. Being at that altitude from the end of April until the beginning of September provides for a lot of changes in weather. I had rubber boots, a heavy coat, work wear, formal wear, club wear, hiking gear and just about everything in between. I also had to pack sheets and towels and a number of other items. All of this was packed into a suitcase that was literally larger than myself.

On my way home, I had this suitcase as well as a couple of other bags. I spent a few days in Calgary before flying back. On the last day of my trip I decided that with all of this luggage, as well as a hat I had bought there, I was going to take public transit to the airport. I remember standing at a bus stop trying to juggle my phone that had the route on Google Map, the hat which kept blowing away, my purse, my oversized suitcase and two backpacks strapped to my back and my front. By the time I arrived at the airport I was nearly in tears. When the man at the baggage counter told me my suitcase was overweight I began to furiously unpack and repacking while sobbing at the same time.

What I’m getting at here, is that this final leg of my trip seemed to work rather well as a metaphor for my life up until that point. The truth is, we all have some kind of baggage at this age. Even if you’ve been through nothing you pick up some useless tidbit along the way. Whether it is a sensible backpack, a fashionable purse, a massive suitcase with broken wheels or broken hat boxes that holds nothing at all. We all have something that we carry around with us. It is the memory that tells us we are no good until someone says we are. It is the childhood bully, the difficult relationship with a family member, the first time you fail a test or the first heartbreak. The truth is, none of us really know what we are doing. We are all young and inexperienced, making mistakes like taking public transit to the airport and not getting rid of that extra suitcase.

I’ve learned you only have two hands, one heart and a finite amount of patience. You have to learn to carry your baggage with some iota of grace, or leave some of it behind so you can get on that plane.


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