In the next decade, I wish I could say that I will be one of those people who packs light and efficient. Let’s design a capsule wardrobe of emotional baggage! Oh, surely you’ve heard of this: Pair seven bad memories with seven creative tops to make 98 different outfits you’ll want to hide in bed in after too much socializing.
Ah, but it’s no use. In hearts and work trips, I am always the same.
I do not have to pack like a man.
I may curse like a sailor, but I pack like a lady (and occasionally, pay for it).
You can keep your duffel bag of suppressed memories and tedious small talk. I’ll say “No, thank you” to your polite – not too obtrusive, God forbid – carry on full of small words and comfortable thoughts and 27.825 years of avoiding long-standing family conflicts because they feel icky.
Pshh! Not for me! While you’re standing up the second the plane lands…I’ll be over here tallying the luggage.
Big hat boxes bursting with stories, starting in 1987, color-coded covers, working chronologically forward from there (1995 is heavy, loaded…2016 is a real humdinger). My backpack will be full of music and smell associations (motor oil conjures Junior Prom – and not in a good way; “The Taste of Ink” deposits my brain on The Battery in October of 2002; Led Zeppelin…well, don’t even get me started). To say nothing of an entire footlocker full of broken hearts, eye-rolling, anger, laughter, tears, and “Forrest Gump” quotes (…you should really listen to the soundtrack, you know).
I am a pack rat in the mental sense. And be warned: If you said it and it meant something to me in that moment, rest assured that it will be shipped by FedEx to my location and retrieved the moment you misquote yourself.
Everything travels, you know?
But in the next decade, I’d like to maybe utilize some packing cubes or something – clean it up a bit, you know? Therefore, I’m resorting to a list.
- The laughter of my children, and the knowledge that in the next decade’s time they will – I hope and pray – grow happily to ages 19, 15, and 13. And yes – I will need to stop when I land there for a good, stiff drink.
- Courage to put myself in the shoes of anyone I encounter. May no pair be too small, too big, or too stinky to envision myself in and share someone’s joy, struggle, pain, heartache, or victory. Unless they are bowling shoes – because bowling shoes are fucking gross.
- A 2016 skill for sure: Whether you like me or not, if good things are happening for you, know that part of me celebrates with you. And…the other part makes fun of your email grammar.
- I will continue to not give a shit about your title. Of course, I acknowledge your hard work to get the title. But don’t be confused: If I respect you, it will have nothing to do with your title, but rather all the parts of your personality you either own or hide, but I see regardless. This one stays in my purse next to the lipbalm – a daily use item, for sure! #MustPack
- Fearing no man. Why bother? They’re all either big teddy bears or scared little boys, anyway. All of this to say…I know some really intimidating women…
- A righteous, indignant anger at bullshit. Just stop. Be kind in as much you can. Own your mistakes. Have opinions, but maybe don’t post *all* of them on Facebook – a little mystery is alluring in a traveler! Be changeable, movable. You’re a human, not a brick wall, right? Life is hard…but this part is so much easier than some of us make it.
- This reminder on a piece of notebook paper from 2013: The only way out is through…and love is always worth it…but take no shit.
- Fighting to matter. It turns out…I always did.
- Hahahahahaha…just kidding.
- Air fryers. You want a conspiracy theory? Tell me how the hell this thing makes decent fried chicken.
- Worrying or wondering about the President. He’s a moron, but that’s really all I know for certain.
- Convincing you I’m right. Maybe I’m not. Anyways…who cares?
- Avoiding having regrets? No time for it. I have an entire suitcase stuffed with them. Open up yours and we’ll compare!
See you at the next stop. Happy New Year!