Packing: The Angst

Remember last year when I couldn’t find any boxes?  Boy, was that a throw back, or what?

Turns out, packing isn’t any easier the second time around.  I may be experiencing even more packing angst this year.   I can’t just shove my Ugg boot into my ceramic vase.  This time, it all needs to be on a plane or in the garbage.  gulp

As I throw out and donate the obvious items—last year’s course packs, clothing I haven’t worn since October 2010 and magazines from the same time period—the stuff that is less clear begins to pile up.  Do I keep my copy of the Inferno?  What about my first year textbook?  Should I bring home my white ikea cup?  It’s not a pretty picture.

Normally, I can effectively pack a suitcase, carry-on and personal item (totally different) in under three hours without forgetting anything.  Or at least without forgetting anything important.  This isn’t packing.  This is moving.

I’m at a loss.  I’m sentimental, which makes the threat of throwing out my hole filled jeans feel like an insurmountable challenge.  Surely they should find their final resting place in their home country instead of in a Bristolian bin?  But then again, I do need to find a spot in my suitcase for that diamond jubilee commemorative biscuit tin and then there’s the whole issue about my winter clothing.

This is the side of university you can’t know from any campus tour.  They can’t tell you that life doesn’t really fit in a suitcase, no matter how romantic that sounds.  What I originally brought over, in one and a half suitcases, makes up only a small fraction of everything that surrounds me now.

Packing is always stressful, each trip has its own challenges.  When going to visit family, packing becomes a knell of your departure.  When it’s going on a mini-break, packing becomes about distilling down a quick, works-for-all-weather-and-occasions wardrobe.  When it’s jetting off to Europe, it’s about fitting in with the locals and not carrying too much.

What I’ve come to realize is that I’m doing something beyond packing and beyond traveling.  I’ve stopped thinking of my flight as something exciting, it’s simply my commute.  And as much as that annoys me and makes me a bit sad, it’s also a great source of happiness.  Because when I realize that I get the PRIVILEGE to do this undetermined type of packing and that I am BLESSED to view a trans-atlantic flight as quasi-ho-hum, I need to pinch myself a bit.

As much as packing stinks and causes me immeasurable bouts of angst, it has become part of this glorious, dreamy life that I wouldn’t give up for anything.  So, packing, let’s call it a truce.

How do you feel about packing?  Love it or loathe it?

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