Do you carry your baggage for life?

As we get older, I might be more aware of why I do certain things or decisions that I make but sometimes I wonder, do you carry your baggage for life? 

Everyone is different.  Even among your siblings, although everyone is raised under the same roof, each experience is different due to pecking order, DNA, personality, gender, etc.  I see it now with my kids, completely different people, perhaps have similar experiences as a unit but walking away with different stories.  That's life.

My parents got divorced when I was a teenager.  Not pretty.  It isn't a place I really enjoy going back to but there is no doubt that the repercussion of those events have reverberated throughout my life.  I am certainly now more aware of why I feel a certain way about something or why I make or have made certain decisions in my life but sometimes feelings crop up when I least expect them.  Maybe because I am in a (thank god) happy marriage or because I am now a parent of 3 completely different kids but as I see people around me repeating mistakes that my parents made, it hits closer to home than I thought it would. 

In many ways I feel as I am entering a new phase of my life as my kids are completely self sufficient and my first is going off to college, as I am trying to navigate that world.  Aren't we always trying to navigate the world? I see other people around me, my age, going down roads with a point of no return with their marriages, or their kids, or even their zest for life and knowledge and it makes me uncomfortable. 

I do not want to pass judgment on anyone but I have come to realize that no matter how much you understand yourself or try to, you do carry your baggage for life.  I just hope that along the way that the load gets lighter.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Wendy Read aka Sunchowder

    I believe this is true Joanne. My parents also divorced, so I can relate to what you are saying in terms of navigating a marriage and the impact it can have on you, your children and your perspective and responses to events. In raising my children, I find that as soon as I get comfortable relating, they are changing again and I have to learn how to relate again to their new phase of growth and independence. Each step, each age has brought out different memories for me. We are the product of those experiences at an almost electrical level and then we have to “choose” to respond differently, for me at times with great effort. I lead a more insulated life, but I can really relate to what you are saying.

  2. Ellen

    We certainly carry baggage but our past experiences make us better. As I am a bit older than you, our parents in my age group did not divorce. Instead they fought for a lifetime. As a result every day my husband kisses me good bye when we part for the day. Of course we fight, but I could not stand for the constant bickering that surrounded my parents’ lives.. Life is too short..My husband is divorced and his children seem to carry very hurt feelings even after 35 years. Remember, we can look back, but we must go forward and not let past failures dictate the rest of our lives.

    1. Gotham Gal

      “we must go forward and not let past failures dictate the rest of our lives”Couldn’t agree more.

  3. Beth Leasure

    Interesting perspective. Really enjoy your blog. We live in completely different worlds but occasionally our interests intersect.I agree that the lessons learned from hard things can be useful throughout a life. However it is possible to lighten one’s load and not carry the burdens of those lessons. And a further hope is that it is possible to shed being controlled by past pains and untended wounds. Great book on this topic: Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn. He discusses actions one can take to overcome 10 myths associated with carrying past experiences.Looking forward to more of your reviews!

    1. Gotham Gal

      Perfect title for a book. Will pick it up!

  4. Farhan Lalji

    This is a really timely post for me.I lost my dad when I was about 10 years old. My mom was a single mom who worked super hard, and I had a great extended family. But I always felt like something was missing and find myself constantly wondering how things would have turned out.My wife is expecting our first child in a couple of weeks, part of me is scared, part of me is excited, all of me is hoping the load of my father’s death becomes less as I become a dad myself.

    1. Gotham Gal

      An early congratulations on your first kid.Anyone that I have known to have lost a parent has found that when theysurpass the time when their parent died, it becomes really hard. I hopethat bringing a child into your life will lift the load.

      1. Farhan Lalji

        Thanks Joanne, I’m hoping I’m able to focus my energy into being a dad, rather than carrying the load of only son.BTW – totally think you and your family are an inspiration. Hope we never lose our zest for life!