December 29: Baggage

Recently I found myself at a crowded baggage claim in a large airport during the busy pre-holiday travel season. It was late, my family and I had just gotten off a cramped four-hour flight, the baggage from our flight hadn’t been assigned a carousel, and we still had another two-hour drive to reach our final destination. I could feel the tension rapidly growing inside of me, filling Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 4.33.12 PM
every inch of my body like a balloon about to pop.

Then at one point, sometime between the announcement of our carousel number and the actual appearance of a single suitcase, I looked up at all the other baggage claimers. There had to be hundreds of people huddled around the various carousels. And suddenly it occurred to me: Every single one of those people is just as frustrated as I am. Nobody is enjoying this. 

And, with this newfound feeling of solidarity with my fellow holiday travelers, I actually began to relax.

Sometimes there’s nothing more comforting than knowing you’re not alone. And that’s been my own important takeaway from my participation in this advent calendar.

Until I started writing this blog with Magda, it never occurred to me that so many people struggled at the holidays. I thought most people loved the joy and cheer of the most wonderful time of the year. I thought I was a bad person for feeling ambivalent about the holidays.

Truth be told, I think I far underestimate the number of people who are struggling at any time of the year. Sure, we see the tragedies on the news. We know of people facing their own personal tragedies.

But it isn’t until we open up and start talking that we realize that most people are suffering through their own silent trials. So many people struggle with depression, anxiety, grief, loss, disappointment, loneliness, stress, relationship issues, or just some vague feeling that this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. 

If you are hurting, you aren’t alone. If you think everybody’s loving life except you, you are wrong. If you think life is hard—even if you have a pretty good life—you aren’t a bad person.

You’re not alone. I’m not alone. We all have baggage to claim.

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