Travel is great and could be exciting. However it's a fact that packing and unpacking are painful to do. Well, at least for me, and I suspect, for most mothers with children as well. This past weekend though, after our Labor Day weekend break, I realized that there is at least one good thing, a gift if you will, made possible by packing and unpacking.
As I decide on what to bring, I found myself emptying bags and purses to make sure I streamline my 'stuff'. After all, no one loves to travel with unnecessarily bulky and heavy bags. During this purge, as expected I found old notes, post-its, expired coupons, tickets to some museum we visited which I thought I needed to preserve and felt sentimental about at the time, and lip glosses or moisturizers I don't often use and can certainly do without, at least for this trip.
This got me thinking. If life is indeed like a long journey, or series of journeys actually, then wouldn't it be interesting if we practiced the same kind of purging with people? By no means am I suggesting that people are dispensable and should be treated like objects. What is true though is that sometimes, we hold on to people in our lives who should no longer be there, people who have served their purpose, and most especially, people who are simply unnecessary 'baggage'. I'm not telling you to sever ties with people just because they no longer have any use for you, in a purely utilitarian perspective.
What I'm suggesting is that we need to make a review, an honest assessment of the people we continue to choose to 'keep' in our lives, one journey after another. Have we really asked why? Are these people we truly value and who value us, or are we just choosing to keep them for sentimentality's sake, for politeness, even though a real relationship doesn't exist? How many 'friends' do we keep in our network even though we don't really know a thing about them, bother to keep in touch in the real sense? Or worse, how many do we keep in our network even though we are certain that we share absolutely nothing in common with those persons, or they've shown without a shadow of a doubt that they do not value or respect us? Is it really worth being 'polite' with someone who clearly dislikes and disrespects you? Is that person's 'weight' worth carrying around in the journeys and years to come? A person who brings only negativity, and one who teaches you no other lesson but to either hate them or hate yourself for allowing them to be present in your life, needs to be cut off, released from your space. That way, you can make space for better and more useful things in your life.
I don't mind having my bags full and heavy. As a matter of fact, I'm known for always carrying big bags. The bigger and the more compartments, the better for me. But what makes it easy to carry my huge bags is the knowledge that what are inside are indeed necessities, things I can't simply do without, and things I will be grateful I have in case of emergencies.
I want to practice the same with people. I want to keep the company of those who I truly connect with. I want to be with those who I really share common values with, perhaps a cherished past that continues to nurture me, or maybe someone I don't mind sharing my future with. I want to be with people who are capable of loving me (and those whom I can love), whether it's tender love or tough love. It doesn't matter. Both will nurture my spirit even when it doesn't feel good or sound good at all times. Love is love, and it's always worth carrying with you around, and making space for. Having people in your life who you know love you gives you the confidence that you can tackle any journey that lies before you.
Are you willing to go on this purging project with me? Or maybe you've already done it before and would like to share how the experience was.