The bad baggage shows up in doubts, scars of both the mental and physical varieties, aches and pains, the less good long-term relationships, and the less good physical things following us like an iron ball. This baggage can show up at any age, and it accumulates as time goes on. Like the mule following the same path to the field, the baggage can become embedded just as the mule plods a furrow into the ground. Believe me, it really bears down on a person, with a crushing weight that saddens the soul.
This topic could end on a melancholy tone, but that is not my intent. I instead want to praise the thing that heartens my soul and soothes my aches. This thing is the example of youth, and specifically the promise of new beginnings and possibilities. My feelings on this topic can be summed up in Chris de Burgh's song “I'm Counting on You” on the album “The Getaway”. The song is framed from a father singing to his daughter, but I feel it is completely applicable to an older generation speaking to a young generation. Some lyrics include:
But where are the heroes, where are the dreams that I had
When I was young?
Am I hoping in vain, just to think she could change anything?
Well I'm counting on you
I'm counting on you
To bring that sweet gentleness to your world and all that you do
My generation is losing its way, we don't know what we're leaving for you
So may there be millions who feel like you do, oh my love
This sends shivers up my spine! Such hope and beauty, and this is what I see every time I socialize with the young people in my life. The melancholy induced by my baggage is dissolved in the face of the reminder of possibilities. I am still alive, my interests and abilities are still growing, and in those respects my life are as fresh as the beautiful people around me graduating from their present stations in life and moving into a whole new realm of possibilities.
The inspiration of youth reminds me that I am as young as I choose to be. I am young at heart, but blessed be, my baggage is heavy. It drops away, and the twenty-five years associated with it, when I dance. Moreover, as sad as it is that my dear contra friends are graduating and moving on, they remind me that I have the same option to graduate to new things in life. Thank you for the young because they remind us that our baggage is not life. Instead, life is about the continuing possibilities.