Baggage claim

Sandrine and I were supposed to write the week end charter on packing. She found the theme, she suggested it - she does that a lot, maybe I should think more about WE charters, let's put this on my list of notes to self, shall we? and I agreed.

Then, my life took a rather disturbing turn and I had to decline the invitation and forget about this blogging thing. Later on today, I read her brilliant post about procastinating, thought about how we can't just be one thing. And then I thought about that whole packing thing. And I came up with this.

Has any of you seen Up in the air? I mentioned it already, I loved the title, the movie, loved Clooney, bref, loved it. Clooney's character gives conferences on how to get rid of your 'luggage'. Now that's interesting. He says, if I remember well, 'Imagine you're wearing a backpack. Now imagine you put your family inside, then your friends, your colleagues, everyone you care about, then everyone you know, move on to what you own, your car, your furniture, your house. Now try walking.' Of course this is all about this character's inability to commit to anything, but it did ring a bell.

My backpack is full: I have a family, friends, furniture, a decent apartment in central Paris, no car, but a lovely bike, and quite a lot of books and shoes. I also need to start packing pretty soon if I want to catch next Saturday's plane to visit my evil sister and her lovely family.

Today, of all days, my backpack hurts like hell and I feel like I should let go of at least one item that weighs way too much, that prevents me from going my way. I also have the greatest trouble starting to pack for Turkey, even though I can't wait to be there.

I've never had trouble packing in the past. I usually draw two lists (the first being for the big suitcase) each divided into sections: clothes, shoes, underwear, shampoo-and-soap-related-things and books. I do the same for my children, pile things up in each room and the fill in the suitcases. Easy. The other list is for the hand luggage, either for the car or for the plane, essentially filled with food for the munchkins, drinks, toys, crayons and paper and some patience (you always want to pack some patience when you go away with two small children), passports, and off I go. I'm never, ever late to catch my plane, I never, ever pack last minute. I'm never caught off-guard, thanks to those lists.

I just cannot start making these lists, right now. I know I have to, because I am so tired I am probably brain dead and I need to write things down or I'll probably forget my own children in my home. I haven't even organized cat-sitting yet, I still don't have a proper bathing-suit -I went to get one but came back with red shoes, totally inapropriate for Gümüldür beaches and I have loads of things to buy for Sandrine and her lot. I'm leaving next Saturday, I work and when I don't work, I have two adorable but quite demanding children to deal with.

I cannot get myself to start the list, because my life is in a terrible mess. I'm in that kind of situation, which I'm sure you've all experienced, when you feel like it's all falling apart and there's nothing you can do about it. When you've tried your best, given all you had in you, fought like a lion but just don't have the strength to go on. And you feel like you're the biggest loser in the world because you're giving up just when you shouldn't, just when you are needed to fight.

So when I think of backpacks, suitcases and luggage, in general, right now, the sole image that comes to my mind is me, walking on an empty road, in the sun, wind blowing gently in my hair, shoeless, with a very light dress, smiling. Just me being me, going where I want to go, not necessarily knowing where that is. And, walking at my side, my family. That's what I want. But as it turns out, I need to take that backpack off of my shoulders, look closely at what's inside, and decide what needs to be thrown away, kept, or recycled. And it doesn't matter that I'm tired, exhausted, or brain dead. I just have to do it. And I will. Just like I'll be doing the lists for my suitcases to take to Turkey. But there's no way I'm packing too much. No way I'll pay for extra luggage. Backpack or suitcases.

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