Last month, while waiting at the airport to check in my luggage, I felt a sharp pain in my back. The pain was so bad that I had to move out of the queue immediately and look for a place to sit. I realized that my 10 kg backpack had started hurting my back and if I didn’t get rid of it immediately, I might end up with a sprained back before the start of the vacations. Moreover I was already attracting a lot of glances from the fellow travellers as I looked like a walking luggage store. Apart from the backpack, I was also dragging along a 15 kg suitcase with my left hand, a shoe bag in my right hand and another small backpack snuggled to my chest which was enough to suffocate me to death.
As I struggled to find a place to sit in the waiting lounge, I went completely breathless with the pain feeling like a scorpion sting now. Thankfully, I spotted two empty seats next to a Filipino couple who confusedly smiled at me. I could not figure out if that smile was out of empathy or courtesy. But nevertheless I was more concerned about releasing the weight from my shoulders for now.
The moment I had put the backpack to rest on one seat and parked my suitcase along with it, I could feel the pain had reduced considerably. I took a deep breath, stretched a bit and sipped some water. Then I realized that I could not travel with so much weight in my backpack, so I started making some space in my already stuffed suitcase now. But as I had expected, I could reshuffle to shed only 2 kg from my backpack. It was at this moment, I was suddenly reminded of a conversation I had with a friend a couple of weeks before. We were discussing about how life could become easy if only we were able to reduce the baggage of our expectations.
As I repacked my suitcase and again braved my way to the counter, I was hooked to the thought if life could be really a breeze if we kept our expectations to bare minimum. Can we really eliminate the pain of expectation and if not, what is the optimal weight of expectations we can carry effortlessly? I realized that I had enough food for thought for the four hours journey.
As I began thinking deeper about expectations, I realized that this baggage comes in two forms. One is beautifully knitted in different colors of dreams by our parents, family, friends, better half, and society. It is swiftly put on our right shoulder the moment we take the first few little steps. We cannot fiddle with the design because it would disappoint the designers of the creation. Just the way the design is patented to them, they also have the right to add weight to this bag as we move through different stages of life. As much as we might want to shriek with pain, we still have to put a weary smile every day and carry the ever-increasing weight till our last breath.
The other baggage is secretly handcrafted by us to our whims and fancies as we silently hang it on our left shoulder. We are not supposed to flaunt this and have to keep it hidden away like a treasured childhood toy. We can secretly play with the design and adjust its weight to our comfort as we grow through the years in our career and relationships. We can choose to destroy our own creation if we start detesting it and can start all over again. Or we can even choose not to have a new bag at all.
As I grow up, I have realized that as a free minded and independent adult, it is our exclusive right to decide which bag we like and can carry effortlessly. Not only this, we also have the discretion to become baggage-less at some point. But this may seem impractical unless you are a super human being who has mastered the art of controlling emotions and people.
While I think I am no super human and I like to flaunt and carry the weight of my own creation, it is also important to ensure that I do not hurt my back again just like I did at the airport. And when in doubt about the weight, I need to play around till I become comfortable. In worst case, I can always check in the extra weight or simply go by the words of someone I met during this journey – ‘don’t think too much, don’t expect too much’. 🙂
PS –This vacation validated my belief that I am a beach baby who is in dire need of his annual beach therapy now! 🙂