When we last came to Florida, 11 years ago, our suitcase was filled to the brim with sport gadgets and toys. Baseball gloves, frisbees, beach balls, water-related toys. It was a magical, uncomplicated time, where we spent hours building sandcastles and playing on the beach. Now our kids are adults and our suitcase on this trip looks quite different.
There are alcohol swabs, bandages, and syringes with saline and heparin. My nurse came home to teach Nagib how to “flush” my PICC line every two days while we were in Florida so that the line would remain open for the requisite blood work and chemo upon my return.
In my suitcase, I have a wig so that all my Florida pictures don’t look like I am related to a member of the Buddha family! For the first time, my suitcase has bottles of medication that my doctor has prescribed me to take daily, and other medication just in case…
I have also packed my blue, seal-tight cover for the PICC line so that I can shower safely without fear that the line will get wet. This cool cover had an unexpected benefit. I wore it to the swimming pool and cautiously dipped my arm into the water. It kept the water out and I was able to swim! Bonus!
I started to think about the suitcase as a metaphor for life. What is it that we each carry in our personal suitcase? What baggage? What items that serve us well? Is our suitcase overflowing with things that bring us joy? Or does it take away from what makes us happy?
A couple of years ago, I read a book, “The Adversity Advantage” by Dr. Paul Stoltz and Erik Weihenmayer. Erik is a remarkable man – a blind man who has climbed the summit of the tallest mountain on every continent, including Mount Everest. One thing that struck me about the book is the concept of “Pack Right, Pack Light”‘ in which Erik explains the necessity of consciously selecting what to pack when you climb a mountain. The idea is to pack right and to pack light so that you have what you need without being weighed down.
At different stages in life, we may need different things in our suitcase. Ever so often, we may need to pack and unpack our personal suitcase and make choices about what is important to us.
So, what is in your suitcase?