At a certain point in your dating life, you start discussing dating people who have "baggage". We say this in a derogatory manner. We say someone has "baggage" if they had a bad divorce, had a bad childhood, have young children, have older children, have a difficult family... the list goes on. But I think we need to start thinking about "baggage" differently. I think we need to start thinking of "baggage" as those attributes, those trials, those difficulties that someone has been through, that make them who they are today.

Baggage when we travel are things we MUST have with us. They are things we cannot leave home without. They are things that we literally put on our backs to bring with us to our destination. Why is emotional baggage any different? Why, if we have gone through difficult times in our lives would we want to jettison those in favor of "traveling light"? I think that carrying what we've been through, telling the story of where we've been, sharing how we got to where we are and why, makes us interesting and complex and savory. Adding the highs and lows of our lives to our psyche makes us not less desirable, but more. Including everything about who you are makes people understand you for you, makes them want to know more about you, makes them want to share more of themselves. "Traveling light", making ourselves seems as if we magically arrived at this place in time without struggle, is boring and shallow and uninspired. Embracing where you've been adds layers to your life and your soul.

In the future, when you meet someone and you're getting to know them, it's more evocative to think about all the layers that lie underneath the surface than to imagine that all you get is all you can see. It's more delicious to think how much more there is to know about this person, so much more you want to understand, so much more you want to be included in. At some point, our relationships with people add something to our lives and theirs as well. Being a friend or being in love changes us and changes those who are in the relationship with us; it adds to our "baggage", it adds to our lives. All of these additions mold us and help us become more of who we want to be, become more of who we truly are. This baggage is what we carry with us through our lives because we need it, because it defines us, because it has transformed us, and none of that is bad and none of it was unworthy and none of it was a mistake. It was all just part of our journey.

After all, this is the life.
- a