Ask Amy: May 2022

I’m Perplexed About Packing

Dear Amy: I see you’re going out on tour — yay! My girlfriend dated a musician and she said the first time they travelled together, she was stunned: he basically could have fit everything he brought in a purse; she brought two suitcases. Does life on the road turn musicians into great packers? Are you a great packer and, if so, what are your tips for smart travel packing? With COVID maybe lifting, I want to get back on the road myself but would love to do it without needing a cart to carry all my gear. — Pack o’ Trouble

Dear POT: “The only thing you can’t buy is a passport” is what my wise friend Caely once told me when I was having a fret over what I might forget while packing. To have a Marie Kondo mind about the suitcase is certainly helpful — what brings you not just joy but is a “I MUST have this with me!” (my favorite sweatpants as an example). I now not only pack for myself but also my two kids. My learning curve of “Who needs what and why” has become a puzzle of less (stuff) is more (sanity). Remember, laundry is your friend and vintage stores are always a fun place to find new anything. Underpacking is the goal in order to make room for new treasures to bring home. Part of the thrill of travel is to let go of the cling of daily life. Cozy, stretchy, fancy and sleepy times two, then off to the carry-on airport with you.

My Happiness Causing Me Anxiety

Dear Amy: Maybe this is weird but, I’m ecstatically months into a relationship; I’m a straight guy with an awesome girl, and it’s giving me anxiety because it’s so perfect. How can it last? I have had a few girlfriends, but this definitely feels like the most serious. And I couldn’t be happier except I get occasional flashes of anxiety, almost panic, that it won’t last, that she’ll see something in me that is a real deal-breaker or she’ll fall for some other guy who is way cooler than me. Should I just settle in and enjoy the ride or be on my ninja toes protecting my perfect relationship? — Too Good to be True?

Dear Too Good: What a tasty way to begin going to therapy: to launch and process your history through a state of current love and happiness while also navigating the quick descent to complex feelings of abandonment. I am a big believer of talk therapy and the way it can help make all aspects of our lives better. The goal posts you have already set up about the end, and the cobweb corners of your doubt are blocking what seems to be a great time in your life.

With a great therapist, and a willingness for change, you can discover rich rivers of questions to ask about yourself, you can swim inside the deeper waters of who you are. The more work you do on yourself and try to discover why, when you start a relationship that you think is amazing, are you immediately worried about its ending, the more likely your “perfect” relationship might last romance novel level long. If you can get to the bottom of your fast rushing endings, then the top of the long lasting beginnings will come.

Worth Losing Friend for Relationship?

Dear Amy: The good news is I’m finally in a great relationship with a great guy after many years of dating disappointment. Bad news is my lifelong BFF literally hates him and won’t see me if I’m with him. What do I do? My relationship with her is like family. — Can’t Win

Dear Can’t Win: There is no need to soup your life. We don’t always have to throw everything into the same relationship pot. Separate the feelings and the people and start there. Plan special events with your best friend that don’t need to include your new guy. Boundaries can put up the right kind of walls to protect yourself and those around you. She doesn’t need to have him as a boyfriend if he’s already yours. Awkward is other people’s issues if you are moving through your friendships with love, but you can’t force a cat to love a dog.

Do I Have to be a Good Sport?

Dear Amy: I’ve never really been into sports; I like to run and go to the gym, but I don’t especially like watching them. But I live with roommates, usually reasonable people but they’re starting to get pumped for basketball and hockey playoffs. It’s like they’re talking another language or discussing a passion for Hummel figurines or esoteric fungus. I hate being the grump, but aren’t sports just sublimated warfare where men are dramatically overcelebrated compared to women? Or should I just chill and learn to enjoy humans doing difficult things? Are you into sports, do you just politely endure or do you race out of the room when the game goes on? — Not Sporty Spice

Dear Not Sporty: “You said I don’t give a fuck about hockey / And I never saw someone say that before.” The Tragically Hip

You don’t want to watch sports, don’t! There are understandable arguments for the distraction that the sports industry provides to take our minds away from the crucial issues of the moment. Noam Chomsky has a megaphone on this, and Jill Saloway lamented about how much she would rather we gather around the TV every Sunday watching feminist debate rather than football. The capitalist aspect of it is nauseating and, yes, the grotesque imbalance of the genders in both televised events and salaries is ludicrous! All that being said, you asked me my opinion — I LOVE SPORTS. Why? There are rules. When we look at the world, it seems to be coming apart at the seams and all the bad guys are winning and the good people are losing. This brings me such distress and feelings of having no control. In sports, there are whistles blown and red cards if you aren’t following the rules and MOST of the time, the best person or team wins.

My favorite rivalry of all time is between the Canadian and USA women’s hockey teams. Epic, beautiful games. A welcomed distraction for a moment to watch incredible athletes do remarkable things. There are stories and legacies that can only be found in sports, and everyone loves an underdog. I don’t need to convert my underdog sports hater here, but if you are interested in getting into it, there are some great truestory sports movies that you might love, I hear A League of Their Own is going to be new series, maybe through art you might find sports too, but it’s no one’s loss if you don’t.


Amy Millan is a Canadian indie rock singer and guitarist. She records and performs with Stars and Broken Social Scene and has a successful solo career. Have a question for Amy? askamy@nextmag.ca

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