When you are going on a trip and have to pack a suitcase, what kind of packer are you? Do you randomly toss things inside? Are you a list-maker? Are you a light packer, bringing just the essentials? Or do you bring everything you possibly think you may need?
No judging; everyone has their own method. Me, I tend to overthink and overpack. I make lists, think of what I may be doing and what I will need to be comfortable and fill accordingly. I roll the knit items and stack other clothing by type. There are specific zippered bags, which are made to separate and neaten the items in your suitcase. Traveling on the road and living out of your suitcase seems perfectly manageable.
When you depart, it all looks so orderly. But as the week goes by, so does the neatness. You buy a couple souvenir T-shirts and clearance flip flops and all of a sudden, it looks as if a closet exploded inside your suitcase. All those shorts you thought you’d wear are in a wrinkled pile. The color coordinated stacks are blended together. The dirty clothes are smooshed into plastic grocery bags. Toss in the kids’ stuff that no longer fits into their suitcases, and even when you sit on it, it’s a challenge to zip your luggage closed.
You realize there is too much stuff to fit inside that suitcase and most of it you really didn’t need to bring.
This made me think: do we also smoosh too much stuff into our life suitcase?
How much extra baggage do we carry around? Are we packing old hurts and bad experiences, pushing them all into the corners? Do we hang onto the injustices and hurtful words said to us? Are we carrying the unfair struggles like some sort of badge of honor?
It’s not just our own stuff; sometimes we push too much of other people’s issues deep inside our bag. It’s one thing to be caring and helpful, but how much responsibility really belongs to us? Not every burden is ours to carry.
Each suitcase can only hold so much.
Maybe it’s time to get a smaller suitcase and learn to pack lighter. Let’s change up what we haul around. Less hurt, more healing. Less anger, more joy. Less spite, more forgiveness.
How about if we hold onto only the things that bring us peace and feed our souls?
Clear out your suitcase. When you repack it, choose carefully. We cannot eliminate all the unpleasantness that happens in life, but we can decide where to place it.
Save some empty space. Let air circulate within and give yourself spots to spread out what is important to you. Leave room and blank areas so that when something valuable comes along, there will be a place to keep it.
I’m ready to travel lighter. Get rid of that huge carry-on that is difficult to maneuver and breaks your back and spirit. Replace it with a manageable carry-on and fill it with your essentials. No worries about what you may need down the road. If something meaningful comes along, it will fit inside.
Pack only what is important, and what is important will always be with you.
Bon Voyage! Cheerio! Godspeed!
- Karen Roth is a semiretired librarian/educator living in Ottawa. She can be reached at email@example.com.