Anyone who knows me knows that I am hardly ever without my backpack. It’s just something that I almost never leave my apartment without. I tend to think of myself as a busy person Because of that, I never know what I may need when I step out my front door. It never hit me how much I actually carry around with me until the other day. I was sitting at a coffee shop doing some work and I wanted to run across the street for something. Instead of carrying my back with me, I did something out of the ordinary for me and asked one of the workers behind the counter to watch it for me. Upon my return, she handed my bag over to me and commented how heavy it was. I didn’t think much about it and continued on. After I got back to work and began pulling things out of my bag, I realized that I do carry around a lot of.. stuff. Why do I carry so much stuff? Do I really think there will be a point in my day where I will need any or all of this stuff? Or am I just simply afraid of something coming up where I will need something that I don’t have with me? Maybe it’s the former boy scout in me reminding myself to always be prepared, but I think it’s more than that. Let’s take a look inside my bag, and maybe we can find something out about ourselves together.
The first thing in my bag is my laptop. I use it every day. Whether I’m blogging, editing, or doing some research. With my laptop, I carry my iPad around with me. I do a lot of design on the go and I spend a lot of time on the bus. I use it to hold all of my ideas and work schedule. Next is my Nintendo 3DS. I hardly leave home without it. I love to be entertained. Don’t we all? It’s great for when I’m on the bus, train, or when I just want to take a break. I also always have a pair of headphones with me. I’m almost always listening to a podcast or some music. My water bottle, because hydration is important. A selfie stick – don’t pretend like you don’t. A battery pack in case any of my electronic devices die. Then, some more basic stuff like notebooks, pens, index cards, chapstick, etc. Oh, and my Bible. It’s always in there when I want it.
In short, that’s a lot of stuff. What on earth does any of this have to do with me, Austin? I’m glad you finally decided to ask. It’s important because I’m not the only one who carries stuff around. You do it too. While girls may carry more around than the male population in the world would like to admit, we still rarely leave without a few key items. Why do we carry so much stuff? All it does is weigh us down and give us bad backs or shoulders. Surely, we could survive without it.
At least, that’s what we would think.
Our bags might not be all that is full when we leave our homes in the mornings. Maybe you can see where I’m going with this. Our hearts, our souls, our minds – they’re all full to the brim with tons of stuff. Many of us tend to be so weighed down with our thoughts that we don’t really understand what it means to even be here for a moment. Hear me out. Maybe we can go somewhere with this.
Let’s make a few connections.
I carry stuff in my backpack. We’ve been through a lot together. 18 countries. Countless stories. We’ve been lost together and found together. It shows some wear and tear around the edges, but we have quite the history together and I’m sure we have many more adventures in store for us. This all sounds oddly familiar to where I keep all my emotional stuff – my heart. We’ve been through ups and downs, it’s a little rough in some spots, but it’s still good and has a lot of fight left in it. Just like my heart, my backpack is always with me.
Let’s look at a few more items.
My iPad. I use it for just about everything. Designing and creating, writing, watching, listening, organizing, as well as staying current and connected. I enjoy being busy. It allows me to feel like I am using my time wisely and productively, even though that may not always be the case. Because of this, I feel like if I ever have any free time, it means I am forgetting something. Like I should be doing something else than having any free time. I blame this on having to manage such a busy schedule in college. So I keep my iPad with me just in case I do stumble across a few moments, so I can get a head start on something else I am working on. Since I was younger, I’ve always had a hard time sitting around and admiring what I have accomplished. I always sought to start the next thing as quickly as possible. I never let myself live in the moment of what I was doing. While my iPad isn’t heavy to carry around, my constant need for a new challenge and accomplishment is exhausting on my heart and my mind.
My battery pack. We live in an electric world. We survive on electricity. If my iPhone dies, while it can be incredibly peaceful, I still don’t like the lack of connection to what is going on in the world. Call me a millennial if you want, but the next viral Vine could be posted while my phone is dead*. How would I know? Well, I carry a battery pack. It has enough power to charge my phone 3x. I never have to worry about running out of power. I relate this to my friends and family. I carry them very near to me. Living across the world proves to be difficult and I find myself needing a recharge as well. Since my battery pack is light, my friends and family are also easy to carry close to my heart. This is obviously much less of a burden to bear.
This is interesting because there is another side to this.
My battery pack is great and handy — when it’s charged. If it’s not charged, it’s just dead weight. There’s no need for me to be carrying it with me. Sadly, the same could be true with people in my own life. Maybe we have run our course, and there is no need for either of us to be carrying each other so close to our hearts. Maybe, they have become dead weight in our hearts just like my battery pack has in my backpack. With that being said, it can always be recharged. Friendships, families, marriages, etc. However, the recharging process will prove to be much more tedious than that of my battery pack.
This may sound like a nutty idea, but let’s all take a look, together, at what we are carrying around with us. The baggage, the heartbreak, the inevitable meltdown, the happiness, the joy – where did it all come from? Do we have a reason for carrying it around in the first place? Or is it just weighing us down? And, no. I’m not suggesting that all of the things we physically carry around with us have some emotional tie to something we hold in our hearts, but it does spark some interesting questions, doesn’t it? Do we need to be cleaned out? To rid ourselves of the burdens and heaviness we place on ourselves? After all, there is no better time than now for spring cleaning.
Take a look at what you’re carrying around, both physically and emotionally. Is it worth the weight?
Breathe in. Breathe out.
*This is a joke. I’m not THAT addicted to my phone…