Saturday, December 22, 2007

Checking My Baggage

I am traveling for the Holidays this year, though not by airplane. I find these days that almost no matter how long the drive, I prefer the mindless tedium of of being behind the wheel to placing my life and my schedule into the hands of the airline industry, probably because my experiences which have never been entirely satisfying. (The fact that I allow myself the guilty pleasure of smoking cigars as I drive alone on the highway has nothing to do with anything except as an illustration my own self-indulgence and selfishness.) 

I will be checking my baggage before leaving home however, in spite of my method of transportation. I am not talking about my luggage, which will be attaining the temperature of a fine glass of whiskey over ice, while secured in the trunk of my car; but of the emotional baggage, of which I seem to be carrying around far too much of far too often these days. 2007 has been a rather challenging year both personally and professionally for your humble writer, as I am sure that it has been for many of you. These challenges may have been something that I have accepted either grudgingly, gratefully, or not at all; but no choice makes them any easier to deal with. Some of these challenges have left me with what I would choose to call "a bit of negative afterglow", but that's just life. 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not really complaining about the situation. They say that only those able to deal with such challenges are presented with them. If that's the case however, then someone has greatly overestimated opinion of my abilities. Like most of us however, I was never asked if these situations were something that I was OK with. I was merely presented with these packages and left to deal with them as best I could.

And then there is the timing of some of these little blessings, and I don't mean of the good kind. We are never presented with these "opportunities" when we are ready, and often find ourselves in the middle of them when we are least prepared. Likewise, the quantity sometimes seems a bit more than most of us would seek for ourselves. A part of Murphy's Law seems to come into play providing us with overwhelming opportunity to deal with stuff that no one should have to deal with, and to do it immediately. 

At times like these, it often seems that in our headlong pursuit to deal with the issues of life as best we can and move on in a timely fashion, we sometimes leave a little something behind that we were simply not prepared to deal with at the time. Operating with such a philosophy serves us well enough in the moment; but one day as we look around us, we discover a few things lying around in the those dirty little corners of the attics or our mind that we can't keep from tripping over. Anger, resentment, bitterness, and sorrow are suddenly discovered amongst our treasured memories, where nothing was previously suspected. 

This unexpected clutter, must unfortunately now be dealt with, and while we weren't paying attention, it has managed to become a good deal more unmanageable through the passage of time. I don't know about you, but brushing off the dust and taking a hard look at these things may be the most difficult thing that I have to confront in life. Dealing with emotions (especially strong ones) has never been my strong suit, and usually if I have chosen to ignore something, there was a damned good reason for doing so. The fear and trepidation that I feel as I cast my glance at this unwanted clutter makes me hesitate, even as I move ruthlessly and relentlessly forward to do what can be done. The necessity of dealing with this may now be readily apparent, but I have never let necessity get in the way of procrastination when I can get away with it. With the end of the year fast approaching, I feel that my unwillingness to leave things undone or half done will overcome my desire to let sleeping dogs lie. This upcoming holiday travel simply provides me with the final excuse that I need to tackle the project.

So I am sorting through the mess that I have left myself and am throwing away as much of the intellectual and emotional clutter as I can manage. Looking at a good part of it, I realize that most of it was nothing but intellectual laziness and "emotion of the moment", carelessly set aside and rather easily discarded. There are one or two items that may take just a bit more time, and I recognize that I am not quite ready or able to make the effort required to put them in their proper perspective. But time and help heal even the deepest of wounds, and their time will come.

By the time that I leave, I will have packed away as much of the nonsense of my life as is humanly possible. All of this, carefully packed in bags and boxes, I expect to check at the door before I depart on my journey west. It is certainly baggage that I no longer need to carry with me everyday and my hope is that the burden that I have placed on myself (and no doubt on others because of it), will be much lighter as a consequence. If there is any way that you can do the same, I certainly recommend the process to you. The time that we will spend with family and friends at this time of year begs us to make the effort, for their sake as well as our own. So leave whatever baggage behind that you can, and have a safe and Happy Holiday! 

1 comment:

Hooda Thunkit said...

Well, well, well, where to start?

I guess that congratulations are in order, about the baggage, that is ;-)

As for the rest, I suppose that it is good to take stock, reevaluate, adjust your life and to move on, sans the baggage, if you can; maybe we should all do the same.

In any event, I hope that you find that your baggage-less travels are happy ones and that you enjoy the freedoms associated with lighter travel ;-)

A belated Happy Holiday Seasson to you my friend!