“Make it a great day,” my friend Kristen’s voicemail says.
Notice, not “Have a great day,” but “Make it a great day.”
Some days, we may effortlessly have great days, but her take on it is that we can do everything in our power to make it a great day. Over time, I’ve learned to agree with this sentiment.
Granted, it’s not always easy, especially with all the new Covid-19 updates being thrown at us 24/7:
Hello, Hidden Baggage followers & readers!
First and foremost, thank you for being here! We’ve “unpacked” a lot of stories since we launched three weeks ago, and we hope to unpack a lot more as time goes on. So keep sending in your submissions (more on that below).
Although there are a few main Hidden Baggage categories, nothing is off limits (within reason).
— For Mental Health Monday, we talked about the importance of practicing self-care (even in unexpected moments, like unclogging a shower drain).
— On Travel Tuesday, we took a trip to a local park in Prague — after all, you don’t have to go far to see someplace new — and also read Alice Toneatto’s account of what she learned about the UK while living there. …
For the first time in a long time, dating is the last thing I want to do these days.
Pre-pandemic, I dated more often than not, so when quarantining became the new norm, I thought I’d be the person juggling multiple Zoom dates per week and was excited by the prospect. But a series of dating misses quickly dissuaded me from even having virtual dates: a guy acquaintance wanted to “have virtual drinks” one weekend, then disappeared; a guy friend — who felt more like a fake boyfriend — ghosted; and a dating app guy who said he was fine with a video date, but then insisted we meet in a park instead — early on in the pandemic, when everyone was encouraged to #stayhome — unmatched me when I said I preferred the former. …
Self-care comes in all shapes and sizes — and I never expected it to come out of unclogging my shower drain. And, especially these days, we have to take all the self-care we can get.
When people say they’re bored in quarantine, I always wonder how: Despite being severely underemployed (after having lost most of my writing jobs due to the pandemic), I still feel I don’t get enough things done each day. I mean, just yesterday alone, I wanted to write more, work on some passion projects, update my online writing portfolio, the list goes on and on …
And to spice things up, some DIY home projects have kept me fairly busy lately, too: a broken refrigerator, a clogged shower drain, and a clogged sink drain. …
While some people say that feeling jealous about a friend’s success is common, it can also be detrimental, depending on how you act toward each other. Yes, some friendly competition can be healthy, but I think it depends on the people involved.
Let’s say you and a friend both apply for the same scholarship. You both really need it — tuition for this grad school program is expensive — and scholarships are being given out to several applicants. You get it; your friend doesn’t. Or vice-versa.
If you were the one to not get it, wouldn’t you still be happy for your friend? I’d be thrilled for them. In fact, a friend of mine just applied for a loan and encouraged me to apply even though I had no intention of doing so; I was not approved whereas she was … for $14,000. I was ecstatic for her, not jealous or resentful. Plus, remember, I’d hesitated applying in the first place, as I knew I didn’t meet all the loan qualifications, so not getting it was fine with me. …
A “free” trial can often cost much, much more if you forget you signed up for it. But there are ways to not fall victim to paying the price.
After all, it happens to the best of us: We see an online class, membership, or streaming service that we have to have — or at least try out for “free” for 30 days. Soon, it slips our mind; before we know it, that “free” trial ends up costing us hundreds of dollars.
But those days are gone. If you implement the three strategies below, you can start saving money right now and put it toward online classes, memberships, or streaming services you actually want to keep once the free trial period ends. …
If we don’t have hope, what do we have?
Traveling used to be my life. For the past 3+ years, I’ve been a digital nomad: I lived out of a suitcase and country-hopped around Europe every 1–3 months. I’d walk up ancient stone steps of castles in Sintra, Portugal one moment and swim in Dubrovnik, Croatia’s perfect-blue Adriatic Sea the next. Of course, not anymore.
With traveling at a standstill due to the pandemic, we need to take what we can get — safely, of course. …
Hidden Baggage aims to be a publication all about things we may keep, yep, hidden in our lives … at least till now. I mean, like it or not, we all have baggage, and we hide some pieces of it, so to speak, better than other pieces.
Taking care of our anxiety and mental health can be challenging … and when you throw a pandemic into the mix, even more so.
Go to the grocery store?
Nah, I can eat rice and pasta the rest of the week … or month … or year …
Meet a friend for a nice socially distanced walk?
Nah, a mask-less stranger may breathe on me (quickly making the walk not-so-nice).
Get up early and do a Zoom workout?
Nah, I’d rather stay in bed. (Possibly forever.)
Anxiety can overcome us when we least expect it, especially these days. Things we never before feared — like making a quick trip to the grocery store — are now monumental decisions. …
“Be kind to yourself,” my late grandma used to always say, advocating self-care before it was a mainstream concept.
In retrospect, I understand now she was presciently wise.
Like many people these days, I dread having to leave the house for essential errands, whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or doctor for a lingering mystery pain I’ve been having.
What if someone’s not wearing a mask?
What if they cough or sneeze?
What if their cigarette smoke blows my way and they have the virus?
While I used to go out wearing a ski mask, it’s now getting warmer here in Prague — where my digital nomad self happened to be when lockdowns began — so the ski mask is getting to be a bit much. …