This morning in bed while waiting for daybreak to catch up to me, I contemplated that if there was a bag check fee for the soul gear I drag around each day; how much would mine be assessed in overage charges. My self-allotted limit of three pieces certainly makes me carefully consider which of my checked luggage I want to re-pack and lighten to become carry-ons.
My first bag I shall call “trapped ”. I completely understand the content of this bag as it is luggage I have schlepped around with me daily for a long time. Not only do I suffer from the fear of being trapped in an unfulfilling life, my fear of being stuck extends to include being imprisoned in a world that requires me to conform to rules and regulations that I object to. The pedestrian day-to-day causes me to feel locked in a cage with the keys gone missing. My “trapped” meter can only go so high before I have to take myself to a place where I can reboot.Certainly my cancer diagnosis and heart attack (thanks to pericarditis: a virus that attached my heart lining) in the summer of 2009 contributed massively to my desire to make each moment count. The urgency to do just to every day makes my objection to the tedious particularly taxing.
I have carefully considered which bag to put forth next as I only have two left. Excess baggage charges certainly apply to this one. It’s the one I have dragged alongside for the longest time. It has been a dead weight because I refused for so long to acknowledge that I even owned it. It has been the elephant in my room and it took decades for me to have the courage to pick it up, open it and start to remove the unnecessary from it. Inside is the deepest and darkest of my pain as well as a raging fury whose intensity is a scorching fire. Its force requires me to treat it with the respect that one reserves for an unclear minefield in Angola. It has only been this past year that I have been ready to acknowledge that this bag belongs to me and needs re-packing. I’m an accomplished, successful, confident and well-adjusted woman with the deep scar of being abandoned, neglected and abused as a child. It is the shame and guilt that rides with being discarded, of not being enough, that causes the excess charges, and it’s only my willingness to finally acknowledge that it was neither my faults nor my shortcomings that caused me to be left as a child, that will make this bag eligible for a carry-on. I’m working on it. My ability to even claim this bag is evident of my readiness to reduce its size and to know that my strength today is far superior than either the pain or fury left from my childhood. My goal is to leave this bag empty and discarded in my attic. I don’t need to carry it anywhere.
The melodies of my solo piano music, courtesy of Pandora Radio, is soothing me tonight. I’m enjoying the silence of my own company. A simple dinner of duck breast with sautéed spinach and walnuts, with a baked Japanese sweet potato, accompanied by a nice Cab, rounds out my feast.
Apart from being seriously challenged with direction and not remembering people’s names very well, my other large shortcoming is packing for a trip. Ugh. I suck at it. I cannot plan ahead of what I would want to wear, let alone consider what the weather will be at the given time. Therefore, I have no talent to pack light or lay out a well thought out wardrobe for any trip. Because of my large feelings of inadequacy when it comes to packing, I’m famous for leaving it to the very last minute. It’s almost like, if I can avoid it to the last minute, maybe I will discover the gift or art of a great packer in the nick of time. One of my most famous trips was two Thanksgivings ago when I went to Prague solo. I had to run to Stein-Mart down the street to buy a new bag 40 mins before I left for the airport and literally had 15mins to pack for a 10 day trip in the middle of winter. Needless to say, my bag was a disaster. In every way. Dragging that bag thru the airports, train and bus stations in Europe was a joke. What made it even sadder was that I had to buy another bag in Frankfurt on my way back just to pack all the stuff I wanted to bring back.
So, after much consideration, my last bag is a crazy, overstuffed, rugged and worn duffle. But I like duffel bags. I like the fact that they are not rigid and that you can squish them into tight spaces. They also carry the cool factor. My favorite is The North Face “rolling thunder”. It’s a large 120L duffel on wheels in a beautiful azure blue or fire truck red and it certainly is a shout-out piece on the carousal that nobody will mistake for theirs. It’s on my list of gear I want to get this year.
Badly packed and full of unnecessary items, this particular duffel full of my personal chaos causes me to have to sit on it to close the zipper. It’s full of all the stuff that I need to re-organize and discard in order to turn it into a lean and mean duffle ready to travel anywhere at a snap. Yeah. Lots of work needs to be done. I doubt that much of these items can be totally discarded as they all make up the sum of my many idiosyncrasies.
It includes my desire to focus on the wonder of my day and let the mundane be in the supporting role. It is the part of me that over commit always, because I make promises without regard to my schedule and then find myself in a tight spot trying to balance my day. It very much includes my impatience – for everything. The counting to 10 really doesn’t work for me. I acknowledge and accept that patience is a gift I did not get and that it is an everyday struggle to strive to obtain. And I fail at it often. Urgency . . . It is close partners with the rest of my motley crew bag . . . I fear that I will run out of time today before I’m ready to go wherever we go next. So everyday becomes a race against time – well, maybe not quite that graphic. Just a general, intense desire to spend my day well, and do the things that count the most, and keep bettering myself as a person. Oh, and there are also these other things stuffed in my bag … some road rage, frustration with bad service, unwillingness to accept a steak that is not medium-rare, just to name a few.
I dream of being better at this. I desire to have a nicely packed bag where everything is organized neatly and stacked in zip-lock bags. I want my bag to come off the carousal and I can look at it and say “wow”, “how super- efficient, super-cool and light“. But more than anything, I want to only have a carry-on. I want to reduce my three heavy bags to be limited to one that can fit under my seat. I want to travel light through my world, free from charge.