Life is an adventure, and every adventure includes carrying a little baggage.
I’m currently in the process of organizing my gear for an upcoming week-long canoe trek. For those not familiar with hiking, backpacking, and canoeing, the type of gear we pack is crucial for the success of our expedition. We need to be prepared for many contingencies, but we don’t want to take too much because we have to carry that gear.
My trek includes portaging my canoe over long trails, from one body of water to the next, to reach the campsite. I have the option of wearing my 35-pound pack of essentials while carrying my canoe or making two trips. It all depends on the terrain, distance, weather, etc., but I’m getting some serious steps in either way.
Over the years, I’ve learned what items I most need when going on my adventures, but that doesn’t mean I don’t overpack from time to time. Just like trekking in the outdoors, we may find ourselves carrying too much baggage trekking through life.
Many of us find ourselves overwhelmed with tasks, thoughts, and feelings. These burdens can really weigh us down—sometimes to the point of breaking.
It’s not uncommon to take on multiple tasks or duties and question how we will manage them all. We may worry about paying bills, making deadlines, or saying the right thing. And, of course, we can find ourselves feeling tired, angry, sad, or even numb as we wander along dealing with life.
Whenever we overwhelm ourselves, we should stop, step off the path, and reassess life’s load. We should ask ourselves, “What do I need to carry?” “What am I responsible for?” “What can I hand off to others?” “What can I leave behind?”
When backpacking on long trips, I always recommend traveling with a buddy—sometimes more than one. Besides the safety benefit, the added companions can help lighten the load of some universal gear, such as camp stoves, tents, or canoes. Remember that many hands make light work.
This premise holds true in life as well. There will be times that we are responsible for things in our lives that we can’t abandon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t ask for help. Delegating certain tasks to others can lighten our workload. Talking about our problems with a companion can enable us to get a load off our chests.
Most importantly, we need to prepare ourselves to say, “No.” Some things aren’t worth packing. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, only so much we can handle, and only so much our 35-pound pack can fit. If we’ve already filled our lives to capacity, we need to feel comfortable declining with taking on more.
My backpack has pockets galore and attachment points for oodles of gear, but that doesn’t mean I should use every one of them at once. We should always leave a little room for adjustments along the trail and souvenirs from our travels. We won’t have room for fun and happiness if we are filled with drudgery and regret.
Yes, life is an adventure in more ways than one, and there is no reason to let our baggage prevent us from enjoying it. So be prepared to pack light and enjoy every step of the way.