Dump the Baggage: Make Room for Possibility

05/20/2015 02:20 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2016


Recently on my way home from New York, I was cursing myself for oversleeping and getting a late start to the airport. I'm a procrastinator and hate mornings- a bad combination for early departures. When I arrived at the airport, I raced down the walkway, maneuvering my baggage the best I could manage. I landed in the skycap line out of breath.

"You're overweight" said the skycap.

"Jesus. Well, good morning to you, too," I said and mouthed a "What the fu-?" to the guy behind me.

"Ma'am," the skycap continued "you've got excess baggage."

"Seriously?" I asked. "It's that obvious I'm marginally, or maybe somewhat f*cked up just from looking at me? You can eyeball me in an instant and know I've got issues without any knowledge of my parents' divorce, my test anxiety, a bully ex-husband, and my I've-just-about-had-enough-of-happily-married-couple attitude? Are my fears and resentments really that palpable?"

"Lady, you have multiple bags and they each need to weigh less than 50 pounds. This first bag is tipping the scale at 102 pounds."

"Oh," I responded, "Yeah, that one is filled with resentments. It's actually lightened up quite a bit in the last year."

"Whatever, lady. Your baggage is clearly over the limit. You wanna take a moment and remove some of the excess or at least redistribute it?"

"Oh, I see. So let me get this right," I said. "On this cold, windy morning, you want me to get down on my knees, on the rough ground, in my brand new $27 Donna Karan tights, bend over, despite a line of nine businessmen behind me, unzip my suitcase, reveal my unconventional packing methods to the world, risk the possibility of my unmentionables catching a gust of wind, at which time I would have to chase my Hanky Panky stretch lace panties into oncoming traffic where I'd likely be hit by a bus full of South Koreans fresh off the plane for a great exchange rate vacation in America. Yeah... No, I don't think so." Damn, I was out of breath again.

"Ma'am," he said, "you've got too much baggage. You've got to deal with it."

"Right here and now? On the curb at LaGuardia, you want me to deal with my excess baggage? And just how do you suggest I magically do that? Is there a leather couch beyond that conveyor belt? Can't you just deduct years of emotional abuse from my Sky Miles account? I've made a lot of progress post-divorce, but 45 years of baggage, that's gonna take more time than a layover in Detroit."

"Ma'am, see the sign hanging above? This drop area is a drama-free zone. You look resourceful, I'm sure you can find a way to reduce your excess baggage."

"Buddy, I'm a divorced, 45ish-year old, single mom of three boys. I'm seriously at the bottom of the American food chain. Read plankton, dude. I'm shocked you can even hear my voice."

My rant continued, "I've got an entire bag filled with resentments. Another is cholk-full of therapy and divorce lawyer bills. You think I can just stuff the extra baggage into another bag to lug around? Or, worse, convince a sweet, lonely man to take these things off my hands for a while?"

"Um," piped up the guy behind me in line, "I don't mean to be rude, but I can't take on her excess baggage. I'm on my second mortgage, my third wife and may have my fourth heart attack in this line. I've hit capacity."

"I guess you're stuck with it, lady" said the skycap. "I'm gonna have to charge you $135."

"I'm good with that," I said, "Those carry-on types are total bores. You see, that fourth bag is my bucket list. I'm headed to all kinds of unknown destinations on the next leg of my journey. I can't wait to see what's around the corner as I continue to get stronger and more adept at leaving the past behind."