My children and I have spent the last several months travelling and hauling 12 pieces of luggage everywhere we go. In some ways, it feels like we have become experts at handling baggage.
We typically say at an Airbnb for a month before packing up and moving to the next one. I’ve tried to find ways to eliminate some of our baggage, but most times, I find myself adding more to our load instead. That’s because each place we live in requires new purchases to cater to our needs. In addition to our clothes, we have to carry a couple of boxes of food. We’re literally carrying around everything we need.
But the longer we stay on this trip, the greater the need is to rid ourselves of things we no longer need.
When we first arrived in Canada in January, we needed to get winter coats. The season has changed since then so we no longer need our winter gear, however, when you have no permanent place to live, everything goes with you everywhere we go.
It makes me think about baggage and how many times I carry around stuff that used to serve me, things I once needed.
No thanks, I got this!
When boarding a plane, you have the option of checking some of your luggage so you don’t have to keep those pieces on hand during your flight or any layovers. It’s the heavy suitcases we check because they are particularly difficult to carry around.
Checked luggage is out of sight and out of mind, and the only thing you need to concern yourself with is your carry-on luggage, which is light. That takes a huge burden off of you because now you can focus on the fun stuff – you know, like going through security and getting to the right gate :).
We readily check our luggage when we travel but how many times in life do we insist on carrying around stuff that should be out of sight and out of mind?
We’d rather be inconvenienced because we won’t delegate the caretaking of our baggage to somebody more able and equipped to handle it.
That’s way too much stuff…
There’s a limit to how much you can carry on a plane and I realized I needed to adopt a similar rule and set a limit for myself on how much emotional baggage I carry with me. There are parts of my life that I have clung to for dear life even though they weighed me down. Poor choices, bad calls, mistakes, losses. And because I didn’t know what to do with the load, I carried it around all day long.
It becomes even more problematic when new experiences beg for my consideration but are unwelcome because I have no room to accommodate them. All because I have insisted on hanging on to what I no longer need.
It’s harder to make choices when you are overburdened. Suddenly, choices that would have been ideal are no longer so because they accommodate me well, but not my baggage. So, I say no when the best thing for my growth is to say yes, and my options are limited because I’m hauling around so much stuff.
Hard at first, but easier in the long run…
Checking your luggage means you have to follow specific rules established by the airline. No weapons or prohibited items, each suitcase should be under 23kgs or you’ll have to pay more, which is just a way of discouraging you from overburdening the plane with your excess luggage.
There are even tighter rules that apply to carry-on luggage. It cannot exceed a certain weight or size, and cannot contain sharp objects that could harm others, and no liquids above 100mls.
Determining what we need and what we don’t is often hard because we want to be as prepared as possible for the future. We never want to be helpless. Letting go feels like we’re leaving pieces of ourselves behind and it’s hard to except that something we once needed is no longer useful.
It’s time to put a cap on how much baggage you’re carrying around, Sis.
The fear: What if I let go of something that I’m gonna need in the future? Will I be able to replace it with something just as meaningful? The answer is YES! I’m learning to rely on God for the wisdom to know what to keep on hand and what to give to Him to handle. And sometimes I have to give the most valuable pieces of me to Him because in my care, I will destroy them. I want the freedom that comes with travelling light.
So, how do you “travel light” emotionally?
- Take stock of your emotional wellbeing and determine what thoughts and beliefs need to be checked. Anything that’s harmful to you must go. Don’t hold on to it. Give it to God. That means it should be out of sight and out of mind. This is the hard part, but you must commit to not thinking about it…at all. Remember, you don’t worry about your checked luggage when you’re on a plane, so why worry about issues you have handed over to God?
- Just like an airline has restrictions on what you can keep with you inflight, give yourself rules and guidelines on what thoughts and ideas you should entertain and “carry” with you. And don’t bend your rules EVER. Investigate your emotions to establish what they are rooted in and the unhealthy patterns they created. If a thought/idea formed about yourself doesn’t apply to who you are today, leave it in the past. A carry-on bag should only contain what you need now. If you don’t need it, let it go.
- Enjoy your journey! Life is to be lived and enjoyed. Do the emotional work so you can live the abundant life God always had in mind for you.
Vimbai E. is a writer, journalist, ghostwriter and the founder of The Weight She Carries. With hundreds of articles publishing online, in print and for broadcast, her love of language and storytelling shines through every piece of writing that bears her name.