We are in the process of putting our home up for sale. Needless to say, cleaning out a couple of decades of stuff has been an arduous task, to say the least. I will not bore you with the details, but I can confirm that moving is as odious a task as most people claim it to be.
In the process of boxing and throwing out what seemed to be hundreds of pounds of things we have not used in years, it occurred to me that many of the so-called memories in our basement represented an unspoken attempt to hold on to the past. In other words, it was baggage. The funny thing about baggage is that although we may be aware of its existence, we are not aware of how it can impede our progress to a more fulfilling future. While baggage can confer a sense of comfort, it can sap our appetite for risk and change.
Baggage is literally a problem for some of our clients who are ready to move to a housing arrangement that better suits their present circumstances. When they confront an accumulation of 30 or 40 years of stuff, they become overwhelmed and choose to remain in their existing homes. This can be a fatal mistake, as they may be subjecting themselves to a greater risk of falls.
There is more to baggage than the memories stored in our basements and attics; there is the baggage of unsatisfactory relationships, dead-end jobs, or an unwillingness to make meaningful positive change in our lives. What surprised me was that in the process of getting rid of belongings from my late parents and former careers as an educator and musician, it struck me that there was a time for all of these things — but that time has passed. I just wish it did not take the agony of a move to realize that fact.
It can be great fun to reminisce about the past. However, none of us can live in the past. Our lives will be played out in the future. As someone once told me, ‘the present is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.’