Recently, I started making jokes about how women over 30 should commission an 18 year old jock for a few months just for kicks. Reason for this is that as the men we have dated and will most likely date in the future will come with a fair amount of baggage, we should also take the chance to become someone’s life baggage. Of course this is ridiculous (but is it?) because unless you haven’t dated anyone, you yourself would have baggage. Also, sure as your first long-term relationship was baggage for you, you would have also secured yourself as baggage for some poor sod.
The question is though, when did we start accumulating this baggage? The Baby Boomer generation (our parents generation) is much applauded for significantly increasing divorce rates globally and if you are in your thirties or younger, there is more a chance you are from a broken home than not. Since much of our opinion is based on learned behaviour, it’s highly likely that our views on relationships are very much shaped by what we see from our parents, relatives and older siblings. Does this mean that even before we have our own first relationship, we are already carrying baggage from our parents’ relationship?
Then there are the things that we go through ourselves. While some people might have minimal baggage, the majority, would have a few heartbreaks along the way, including that big love that overshadows all others. Ah, the big love. The one you carry with you all through your life, or at least until the next big love. It’s the suitcase that you think takes so much space in your attic until you accumulate the next, bigger suitcase. And as we get older, the suitcases just get bigger don’t they?
How do you deal with baggage? How do you deal with someone else’s baggage? You might think that it’s unfair that you have to, but more often than not, it just comes with the package. How much baggage is too much? The thing is, what you see during the honeymoon period is often just the tip of the iceberg. If you think a person is screwed up then, it usually does not get better.
The thing is if our baggage can indeed be likened to suitcases in the attic, then more often than not, what we keep is unnecessary. Obviously there are things that are big – your dad’s affair, your first real long-term relationship or any relationship that endured a significant amount of time and energy. However, that three month fling or that single one night stand you had five years ago – are they really baggage? They are things that happen, but should they really be taking up the space that they do? You can only store so much before it all overflows.
Of someone else’s baggage? Sometimes that big looming suitcase full of skeletons is just an illusion of light. One day there will come a time when your attic will need to move into the same space. When that time comes, light will be shed whether you like it or not. It might help to remember that every suitcase in that attic is part of the journey that has led you to where you are today, and the suitcases in their attic are what made them this amazing crazy person that you adore. If however, the suitcases are taking too much space, you can always shut the door and walk away. It is up to you to decide if this person is worth the baggage they come with or not.