Early in my career, I worked at Ralston Purina Pet Food Company. I was based in Florida and our Region office was headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Due to the difference in location, I often had to fly to Atlanta. At that time in my life, I had not yet learned the art of packing for a trip. I would pack a different pair of shoes for each day. I packed a completely different outfit because I wanted to ensure I did not wear the same clothing more than once. After all, that is what women do, right?
A while back, my daughter packed for a five week trip. We joked about how much she packed and wondered if she was ever planning to return home. This sparked a memory of a valuable lesson I learned from my Director at Ralston Purina. One day we were traveling together. We both had luggage. When the time came to put our luggage in the car, I could not lift my bag into the trunk. The first thing I realized was that he was not going to help me. This was a revelation to me. I was used to my dad always taking care of my luggage, so I never had to worry about how heavy it was. As I struggled to get my bag in the trunk, my Director said something I have never forgotten. “Don’t pack more than you can lift.” I am sure at the time, he was simply talking about the weight of the bag, but over the years it has come to mean so much more. While his statement changed the way I now pack for every trip, I also apply it to my life. A body can only carry so much weight, whether physical or emotional. I have learned to continually test the weight of the physical and emotional baggage I am carrying. When it gets too heavy for me to lift by myself, I have to make the decision to remove some things. With luggage and in life, you neither can nor should try to carry it all on the off chance that you might need it. Some things are best left behind. “Don’t pack more than you can lift.”