In his short story, “Three Hours Between Planes,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “the second half of life is a long process of getting rid of things.” I agree with Fitzgerald, but after backpacking to Thousand Island Lake, I’d add that getting rid of heavy things should be the priority. And, I’ve since discovered, that’s a pretty good rule of thumb for life in general.
I’ve spent the last two months ditching all sorts of heavy things for their lightweight counterparts. I conquered my almost obsessive need to check a bag each time I fly. (No sneering from the guys, please, because you have it easy.) I repackaged liquids, bought tiny travel-size products, and learned how to get along with two pairs of shoes instead of four.
Next, I moved on to my closet and the kitchen pantry—piece of cake. Then, the ultimate test: my library. Donating books I know I won’t read again was like abandoning old friends, but with the purging complete, I felt lighter, freer.
Along the way, I experienced a revelation: my thought patterns could use some lightening up too. I managed to identify three “heavy” mental constructs I want to get rid of. I’m working on giving up perfect for well done—a big undertaking for me. I’m learning to hope, rather than expect—not easy either. And finally, the ultimate challenge: I’m trying to surrender some of my need for certainty in favor of greater tolerance for ambiguity in all things.
My new, lighter backpack made the hike to Thousand Island more enjoyable; I’m convinced that changing the ways I think will do the same for the next section of my hike through life.
My novel, Yard Sale, is available on Amazon; the e-version is weightless.