When I was working for a community mental health agency, a coworker pointed out that I have friends of all ages. It’s true. I love spending time with women and men in all stages of life- I believe they all have something unique to teach me. One of my best friends is in her 50s, and I have many relationships with girls who are as young as high school and college.
When my college friends talk about how stressful school is, I always tell them that life only gets harder and more stressful. I am, of course, half joking- but also half serious.
As we stroll through life we seem to pick up more and more baggage- emotional baggage (broken hearts, betrayals), financial baggage (student loans, anyone?), and even literal baggage (my husband remarked several times during our last move that we have “too much stuff,” even though everything we own fits in our 750 square foot apartment with only two (count them, TWO) closets).
However, I must here acknowledge that I tend to be a Debbie Downer. I do spend much too much time dwelling on all the stresses and to-do lists of life (bills to be paid, future pans to be made, budgets to stick to, work to succeed at, and even babies I don’t even have yet). While driving back to my former home in Missouri a few weeks ago, I was reminded that as life goes on we pick up more positive baggage too- we gain things that make life just a little bit lighter, not always heavier.
Kansas City is a good example of this positive baggage in my life. As Nick and I re-entered Kansas City after his graduation I was reminded of the different stages of life this city has held for me- each one including more “positive” baggage.
When I first moved to Warrensburg, Missouri, I didn’t know anyone so I drove to Kansas City alone almost every weekend. I drove there to go rock climbing in Blue Springs, to peruse the City Market, to discover new coffee shops, to enjoy the streets of Westport, or to explore new nature trails.
In the next phase of my time in Missouri, I traveled to Kansas City with friends. We traveled there to see Sugarland and the Ting Tings in concert, to shop the Country Club Plaza, to watch Shakespeare in the Park, to enjoy the open air and fire pits in the Power and Light District, to get tattoos, to see Les Miserables, and to attend my first ever Rodeo and Monster Truck Rally.
The last phase of my time in Kansas City was when I was married. Nick and I drove to Kansas City to enjoy the remarkable World War I museum, to discover the Kansas City Food Truck Festival, to get Nick’s first bubble tea in Westport, and to picnic at Loose Park.
Each of these events were fun and life giving- but mostly they represent the positive gains in my life next to all the baggage- people and a deeper sense of myself. Through the years I gained friendships with people who bring joy and rest to my life and challenge me in good ways. I’ve gained a husband who loves me far better than I deserve- and challenges me as well. I have gained good emotional baggage (friendships, love, commitment), financial baggage (money spent on vacations and outings, and even a little savings and retirement), and literal baggage (pictures, videos and mementos from time well spent with those I cherish).
This baggage, does not make life harder or more stressful. This baggage makes all the other baggage worth it.
What baggage are you thankful for today?