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Emotional Baggage

As a therapist, I ask people to show me their bag. We help to root around in it to rearrange their probably too big bag to make sure they have what they need. Sometimes, we even carry their bag for them at our own peril -- oh my aching back!
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Recently I was preparing for a week-long conference out of town. I had much internal debate about what suitcase I should bring. A week is a long time and I needed both professional and casual clothes. Of course, I had to consider airports and the dreaded security indignities, how to get to and from the airport, and lugging the damn things. I carefully thought out what I thought I needed to bring and ended up thinking that I needed to bring my behemoth-sized case. Shoes are the worst but we need them for walk¬ing around. So, just 3 pair... no wait..... 4. That is, until I revisited the lug-ability. So then I decided on 2, no wait, 3 smaller bags. But I could just use the big one.... Then I had to check and pay the fees... and the pondering continued...

We all have baggage in life. Our past experiences, wishes, pain, all get stuffed into our baggage. Sometimes we can control what goes in... and other times we can't. Some of us have the mega bags and stuff every thought and memory in them. They suffer in lugging the bag around as they make transitions from one place to another. Others always travel with an impos¬sibly small carry-on and just "wing it" for their needs and recycle outfits. As parents, we help our children pack their bags to have all the tools they need to face life's uncertainties - and hope that they have everything they need for their journey. Seems we're always pondering if we helped them pack the right things.

Is there a right size bag? Resilience teaches us to travel light and just roll with it. No matter what we face, we can improvise to meet the challenges presented. And we do, until we have to scramble to get something we don't have at the local market.

As a therapist, I ask people to show me their bag. We help to root around in it to rearrange their probably too big bag to make sure they have what they need. Sometimes, we even carry their bag for them at our own peril -- oh my aching back! In fact, we have to approach them without our baggage in order to be sure we don't unduly influence them. Our bags are left to ourselves on the baggage carousel until we are able to reclaim them at the end of the flight.

As I ponder my travels for the past few years I can't help but wonder, do I have too many bags? Am I just an overnighter, or a Skycap-sized load? It seems people keep trying to give me their bags and I dutifully try and carry them. And the burden can be great. Yet those day travelers without suitcases seem to be either dim-witted and ill-prepared.... or perhaps just lucky.

All true relationships have baggage. It's what prepares us for our journeys. But the question remains, how much should you bring? At the end of the day, I decided to bring my inspector gadget backpack, a medium carry-on with essentials and I checked the damn shoes. Was it the right decision? I made it back and wasn't naked on the trip. Guess it was enough... for that trip. I wonder what I will need on my next trip.

Off to the luggage store.