I have always been accused of over-packing on trips. I can't help it. I like to have options, whether I'm at the beach or up in the mountains. But one thing I do know, I want to take as little emotional baggage with me, and what I do take, I want it to go in the really good luggage. That's because I want to constantly remind myself that I am on a trip that will transform my life, if only I look for the open door, the window with a view, the promise that is in the air.
Does that sound silly? Think about it a moment. You're on a trip, and the world is your oyster. You have a chance to explore, to leave behind the ordinary, everyday world, in search of new experiences, new friends, new opportunities. Why in God's name would you want to bring your old junky, broken down duffel bag of troubles with you?
Too often, we seem to drag a steamer trunk full of sorrow with us wherever we go. We can't seem to let go of the slights, the hurts, the regrets, and yes, even the guilt we carry with us. But as you head off on vacation, be it physical or mental, isn't that the perfect time to sort out your emotional baggage and pack with greater care? Do you really want to hoist that heavy trunk everywhere you go? Won't it keep you from going places and doing things, all because you have to guard it? (As if anyone else wants to steal it!)
What's it like when you open it? What do you see? Do you really want to face the ratty underwear with the frayed waistbands or the hole-ridden tee shirt when you settle in for your first night away from "home"?
I'm not suggesting you go out and blow $2000 on a real Louis Vuitton suitcase. But I am saying that it's okay to give yourself permission to treat yourself and your fresh start as something special, and surely every vacation should be a new blip on the horizon of life -- something to anticipate with excitement, hope, and great expectations.
So many times we cut off our noses to spite our faces by reliving old pains, old hurts, old scabs. Those invisible cuts, scrapes, and wounds that never healed just keep piling up, and that weighs us down as we try to move forward. Nowhere is it more obvious than when we try to kick start new relationships, new jobs, new lives.
Some people try to fake it -- they pretend to give up the old clothes, but then they slip them into the new suitcase, under all the new clothes bought for travel. You can slap price tags on your ratty old pants, but they're still going to be ratty old pants. You won't fool anyone.
For us bodacious baby boomers, it's important to keep on keeping on, but in order to pick up some speed and get to where we want to go, we have to let go of the things that hold us down, that hold us back, that hold us hostage. We have to make a concerted effort to reject the things that don't work for us. We have to select those things that do work. Those go into our suitcases for the next journey.
Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to recognize we need a break from our lives, even a temporary one. We can plan to just relax and enjoy ourselves for a weekend or a week, putting aside the stuff that we can survive without in the interim.
So, take a vacation from what bugs you, even if you don't leave home. Tell yourself that you're only taking the emotional baggage that works for you -- the inner puppy you still hold inside you; the kid who still loves the feel of the wind on your face when you're riding in a car, a boat, or on a bike; the little ant who still wants to move that rubber tree plant....
And put the healthy emotional baggage you own in your really good suitcase, the one that reminds you that this life is really something special and you're going to enjoy it. That's the message your brain will get every time you open that luggage and see what you chose to bring with you on your journey. Keep the past that made you the good person you are, and toss out the past that made you less than you need to be, even just for a weekend or a week.
When you get back from your real or imaginary vacation, you'll have plenty of time to drag that old crap out of the closet again. But you might just find you did okay without it -- you don't need it any more. Won't that be a weight off your shoulders? Be bodacious, my friend. Be bold. Be free.
Hey, Shakespeare fans -- The first new ebook in my Bard's Bed & Breakfast Mystery series is now available for free at my publisher, Smashwords. You can also get it at Amazon for free if you "price match" it! In a few weeks, you will also find it at other retailers, including Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple, Diesel, and Kobo:
Smashwords -- Let Slip the Dogs of War
Amazon -- Let Slip the Dogs of War