“The hardest part about moving forward is not looking back”
What is baggage? Baggage is what you take with you from one experience into the next. Sometimes, it’s a good thing. Other times, not so much. Good baggage consists of learned lessons from past experiences. Bad baggage would be all of the unnecessary thoughts that hinder you from enjoying your new experience.
Ever heard the phrase “pack light”? Actual baggage will weigh you down. For instance, if I want to buy a new dress, life has taught me that I won’t really know the value of what I am buying until I see it paired with the right shoes, my hair done, perhaps a light jacket to dress it up, and maybe a friend or two to give me their opinion. However, I don’t pack my purse full of 5 shoe options, my curling iron, a couple of cardigans, and my closest friends when I go to the mall. I grab my wallet and hope for the best. I pack light. I don’t bring the unneccesary. Why is that? Because I know I can trust my instincts to assess the dresses as I try them on and, if necessary, I can FaceTime a friend for some input. So why bring all of my fears, concerns, wishes, hopes, precautions, and skepticism from my past relationships into my new ones? Why not pack light?
Usually when I blog, I’m tying things to relationships but this could be about anything. This could be about a new job, or making a big purchase, or committing to taking care of a new pet. This could be about anything in your life that involves you harnessing a past experience to influence the new one.
I’ve served in a restaurant for 7 years. A couple of weeks ago, I started a desk job. I did not bring my apron into my office and cross my fingers that it would guide me. I took the knowledge that I know how to thrive under good leadership and can perform consistently and I trusted that my instincts would steer me. That doesn’t mean I packed nothing for my trip to career change-ville. I brought some what-not-to-dos that I’ve learned over the years. Those have been helpful. So, I’m not saying to not bring any baggage. I’m just reminding you to pack light.
You should never be entering a new experience completely blind forgetting about the lessons that you learned in a previous one. So what I have to say on this matter is that there’s so much I learned from my last relationship that there’s not a second of it that I would consider to be a waste of time. Even the parts I sometimes find hard to believe were not a waste of time, were absolutely not a waste of time. And I know that.
You know, I lived with this person for upwards of five years, and because of that, when he moved out, my home was still our home. The night that he left, two of the best people in my life came over with plastic bins and packed up our apartment until it became my apartment. They had me sit on the couch while they took everything that had to do with him or us and put it into these 3 gigantic tote bins that I still have. Well… had.
When I moved out of that place I packed up the remainder of my life which included new things I had purchased as I came into my independence, as well as remnants of the existence of an “us” or even remnants of the person I was when we were dating. I took all of that stuff and I put it into a storage unit and it sat there for ten months. Until now.
This weekend I emptied my unit. It was time. I was ready to get rid of some of my “baggage.” So, I went to my storage unit and for two days in a row I collected my past, I brought it home with me, and I unpacked it. I unpacked, I repacked. I unpacked again. I repacked again. I went back and forth with the memories I wanted to keep, or Marie Kondo, or give away, or throw in the trash, and it was such an experience. It was hard. It was easy. It was therapeutic. It was exhausting. It was worth it. I feel this huge release because these are things I haven’t looked at in so long. It was like unpacking an old life. It’s not like it was weighing on me consciously but it was definitely on my shoulders and I didn’t even realize.
At the end of the day, it’s just stuff. If I haven’t used it in ten months, I probably don’t need it and was only keeping it for the memories that I wasn’t ready to let go of yet. That’s the thing tho. I can release the items without releasing the memories. All of that stuff will find a new home now wether it’s with a person who can love it or amongst a big pile of garbage. And I get to feel so much lighter.
When I was in that relationship, we would go upstate in the summers and visit this really fun outdoor flea market. I’m fairly impressed by my own haggling skills so that was my annual time to shine. We always came home with the cutest trinket-style memories from that market. One year, we got this really cool (and really old) bottle opener. Neither of us drank anything that required a bottle opener but we couldn’t resist it. I found it this weekend. I kept it. That’s not detrimental baggage to me. That’s a really nice memory with zero toxicity attached to it. It’s also a really cool item that I’m excited to own. If I never found that bottle opener this weekend, I would still have a nice memory of it. Knowing I had the option to get rid of it, but still wanted it for myself, is entirely why I chose to hang onto it. But guess what? I don’t need it. It just kind of… is there… and I could get rid of it at any time. That’s growth to me. Because ten months ago, there was no way I was leaving that apartment without that bottle opener.
It is so important to unpack your baggage. For me, I got to literally unpack my baggage, but the reason it was easy for me to do that was because I had already mentally unpacked. Sometimes, before you can get to the physical, you have to tackle the mental. Other times, physically purging those memories will lead to mental leaps. Either way, accepting your current situation is key to moving forwards.