On packing my bags…..

It is really amazing how much we are slaves to our possessions.

I have been experiencing quite a bit of anxiety lately. I’ll be flying out of Regan National Airport on August 5th, 2009, with only a couple of bags. It is in deciding the contents of those bags that has caused me a great deal of anxiety. To understand the context of this anxiety, let’s rewind to July 4th, 2007….

On July 4th, 2007, I was at Sacramento International Airport with only a couple of bags. I had spent the summer putting thing into the bags, taking things out, buying things and giving things away. I was packing the things that I thought would start me off on the rest of my life. I packed jeans that were a size too small, since I likely wouldn’t be eating as much. I packed the philosophical books I’ve been meaning to read, since I would have all kinds of extra time. I packed journals, my special set of pens, my jewelry box, and the shoes I had always wished I was brave enough to wear. I packed gym clothes, my swimsuit, and my curling iron. I even packed my bathroom scale.

To me, what I packed in my bags didn’t really represent me, but rather who I wanted to be.

So now with several months to go, I have stopped buying things that I don’t think I’ll take with me. I am scanning my journals and doing away with the hard copies. I am giving away the philosophical books that, in nearly two years, I still haven’t taken the time to read/ Several times a week now I am filling up a plastic grocery sack with things that I don’t need and either giving them away, or putting them in the dumpster behind my apartment. Today I threw away a plastic grocery sack full of cosmetic items, both used and unused. I especially agonized over a lipstick that I have never used.
“But it cost five dollars!” said my Right Brain.
“But you’ll never use it!” said my Left Brain.
In my entire life, I have used lipstick exactly twice, and on neither occasion was it this peculiar shade of violet. Given the opportunity, I could have guilted myself with The Lipstick That Cost Five Dollars forever. Into the dumpster it went, along with any reason to continue to torture myself with it. I will have a hard enough time talking myself into throwing out my half empty shampoo bottles. I will be returning to California with fewer bags than I had when I left, mostly due to airline baggage fees.

Oddly enough, I can pack ultra light when going on a shorter trip. I’ve gone to Mexico with little more than a swimsuit, granola bars, and change of underwear.

Yet still I am often paralyzed with the fear that I will find myself without something I don’t need. Since it is now spring, I am hoping to send a box of my sweaters to my new California home for safe keeping. In all likelihood, I will pack, unpack, and repack that box more times than I can count.

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~ by jamiesnydertv on April 15, 2009.

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