Saturday, April 12, 2014

How to Pack for Life


I was packing for a trip. I started by throwing everything I might want to take into a big pile on my bed. Anything was possible. I carefully started to pick out things I knew I couldn't do without, and things that maybe weren't the most glamorous pieces but that I knew would serve me well. Some things I wanted (Oh so BADLY!) but couldn't manage to fit in. Some items were appealing because I knew how they'd make me feel while wearing them but I couldn't justify adding them. Maybe next time.

While I stood there making decisions-- keep this, let that go-- I thought how much life is like packing. You start out with all the possibilities, without many constraints. Choices must be made though. Soon you begin to edit. Some choices mean that other options are off the table at least for the time being. Perhaps you can pick them up at some point along your way.

Some days our "bags" feel as if we are bursting at the seams, we've packed too much, prioritized wrong. Why did we bring that? What were we thinking? How are we supposed to drag that around? We edit. Someone tucked that thing in our bag while we were distracted. How did we become responsible for that? Time to take it out. We've neglected something important or we haven't cared for the few things we've chosen properly. Time to evaluate our baggage.

So when we travel literally or figuratively are we going to weigh ourselves down with everything under the sun or can we manage with less? There is something kind of thrilling about packing a bag with just what you think you really need for the journey and imagining the treasures you might pick up along the way. Knowing that you are not ever going to perfect the process is a helpful realization. Life is full of surprises, leave a little room for chance and a spirit of adventure to put your resourcefulness to the test. Accept the challenge of adapting to new circumstances. Drop the cumbersome expectation that you can be prepared for everything. You CAN be prepared for a LOT, just not ALL.

Be willing to learn.

Keep an open mind.

Enjoy the journey.

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