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Leave your baggage behind

At the end of December, a lot of folks thought about what they wanted to do in the coming year. They resolved to give up smoking; eat less; exercise more etc.

It’s good to make that sort of commitment to ourselves. Aside from my ‘Write at least 50 words on Dead Doris every day come rain or shine (or snow)’ goal (so far, so good), I plan to lose a few pounds over the coming months (so far, not so good - curse you, Dunkin' Donuts!). There’s no doubting the benefit of setting realistic goals, sincerely made and steadfastly worked at, but there’s something else we can do. Something so simple it's often overlooked, yet I think it can have more of a positive impact on our year than any resolution.

I’m talking about letting go of all the negative baggage we carry around with us.

I don’t know about you, but during the course of any given year, I pick up a lot of garbage. Even though I achieved a lot in 2010, I still failed to complete much of what I had planned. There were things I should have arranged or done, but never quite got around to (like buffing up Waking up Jack Thunder so I could send it out to agents), things I did or said that I wish I hadn’t (and vice versa), things other people did or said, stuff outside of my control that happened etc.

Most of the time, we don’t give these failures and irritations much thought, but I believe their negative impact stays with us nonetheless, lurking in the dark recesses of our sub-conscious mind. We carry it around like excess baggage, letting it weigh us down without even knowing it. Because of that, I think it’s important to first acknowledge that baggage and then give ourselves permission to leave it behind.

That’s why this year, before I set my goals for 2011, I forgave myself for all the things I didn’t do, or shouldn’t have done, in 2010. Sure I didn’t complete the first draft of a new novel, and I still haven’t polished Waking up Jack Thunder to the point where I can send it out into the world, but I made a conscious decision to leave all that baggage behind. I gave myself permission to step into the New Year with a clean slate and a clear conscience – which leaves plenty of room for all the new baggage I’ll be collecting during the course of next twelve months .

How about you?

If you allowed yourself a fresh start today, what baggage would you decide to leave behind?


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( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
msstacy13
Jan. 26th, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
Between the OCD and the PTSD--
well, I've already said more than any sane person wants to know.
jongibbs
Jan. 26th, 2011 04:26 pm (UTC)
Lol :)
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jan. 26th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
ladysaotome
Jan. 26th, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
Hmm, well, sometimes leaving behind baggage is easier said than done. How about baggage I'm working on leaving behind? Like feelings of guilt that my daughter was recently diagnosed with a learning disorder, (real dyslexia, not the misnomer of inverting letters) even though it's genetic and there's nothing we could have done any different parenting-wise?
jongibbs
Jan. 26th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
Kid-related baggage is tough to leave behind, but well worth the effort, if you can manage it :)
out_totheblack
Jan. 26th, 2011 04:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jon. I'm not sure what I'd leave behind, but I hadn't thought about it either until you posted this. It is a very good point.

As the Desiderata say, "Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself."
jongibbs
Jan. 26th, 2011 04:26 pm (UTC)
My old gran used to say something similar: "Be good to yourself, 'cause no other bugger will" :)
(no subject) - out_totheblack - Jan. 26th, 2011 04:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jan. 26th, 2011 04:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Jan. 26th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
Well, I can't say I'm surprised about John Smith. Not after all those mean things you keep saying about him :P
wendigomountain
Jan. 26th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
In the immortal words of Buckaroo Bonzai, "no matter where you go, there you are." But the things I would love to leave behind is my hatred of whoever it was that left woodscrews in my street and punctured my tire. Of course, it's entirely likely that person was me. So maybe my inherent sense of self-loathing.
jongibbs
Jan. 26th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
Lol :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jan. 27th, 2011 10:30 am (UTC) - Expand
bogwitch64
Jan. 26th, 2011 06:30 pm (UTC)
You know me, Jon. I am eternally, frustratingly optimistic. I don't carry baggage from year to year. I don't lament what didn't get done. I just move on. I learned a while back to save my fight for those things I truly feel the fight for.

That's the thing GOOD about surviving some really bad things--the everyday stuff that I might have tweaked me out in another life just doesn't seem to matter much.
jongibbs
Jan. 27th, 2011 10:31 am (UTC)
Amen to that, with the possible exception of people talking in the theater, which still bugs me no end :)
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jan. 27th, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
ex_naomi_ja
Jan. 26th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
OMG, I wouldn't know where to start...
jongibbs
Jan. 27th, 2011 10:32 am (UTC)
Lol, oh dear :)
chant_1
Jan. 26th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
Very insightful post, Jon! I'll have to think about this...I'm sure there are more than a few things I should let go of. : )
jongibbs
Jan. 27th, 2011 10:33 am (UTC)
Thanks, Kim, I hope you find you don't have any :)
peadarog
Jan. 26th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
You won't get any of that fresh start nonsense from me! You dirty long-haired (once upon a time) hippy...
jongibbs
Jan. 27th, 2011 10:32 am (UTC)
Chill, dude, chill :)
wordsrmylife
Jan. 26th, 2011 10:55 pm (UTC)
I can't think of any particular baggage I'd leave behind today--since I reached my revision goal. But I do think leaving baggage behind is a great idea--as great an idea as Dead Doris is a title.
jongibbs
Jan. 27th, 2011 10:34 am (UTC)
Congrats on hitting another goal, and thanks for the kind words about the title :)
mikandra
Jan. 26th, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC)
If someone in the family was lamenting 'I wish I had done...' my old grandma would say 'had, had, had, if I had wheels I'd be a bus.' And that was usually the end of it. It's pointless to carry baggage of the guilty or self-loathing kind, because there is nothing you can do about what happened.
jongibbs
Jan. 27th, 2011 10:36 am (UTC)
Pointless, but I think a lot of folks do it, nonethless. It's the cause of many a long-term family feud :(
snapes_angel
Jan. 26th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
The suitcase with a broken wheel. >=3
jongibbs
Jan. 27th, 2011 10:37 am (UTC)
Hehehe :)
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Jan. 27th, 2011 12:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
glynisj
Jan. 27th, 2011 02:30 pm (UTC)
I agree, Jon. Although during the year, I kick myself in the butt almost daily for not doing something or for doing something I shouldn't have, in January, I vow that I'm starting a brand new chapter. The other ones are done, finished. Every once in a while, I catch myself thinking back and adjust my thinking saying to myself, "That's over and done with." It helps push me forward.
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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