Pack for your best day

I’ve been a little bit stuck on this concept lately. I picked it up from a “how-to” on minimalist packing, and it’s just so applicable to so many areas of life. The idea is to only pack the items that you would need for the best possible day of your trip and buy whatever you need for inclement weather later if you need to.

For me, this shift in thought means focusing on the skills and attributes that reside within me, the ones I can build and control, rather than physical or firm “stuff” goals that keep me from taking risks and doing the things I dream of doing. I spent over a decade chasing all my stuff, struggling to build up any kind of material and mental/emotional stability. The two seemed to go hand-in-hand, to depend on as well as validate each other. If I could just get to that next salary/apartment/vacation, then I must be a sane, productive person of value. Maybe it was more complicated than that, but it feels just as reductive and limiting in practice.

I’ve also been marveling at how well this concept fits in with the way a shift I’ve felt in interpersonal relationships over the last couple of years. When I was in the fourth or fifth grade, the friends that I had had since kindergarten started pulling away from me and eventually shut me out completely, resulting in some pretty devastating recesses. I couldn’t figure out what I had done, but I knew it must be something, so I just tried to be the best at everything and spent the rest of my adolescence trying to find the perfect formula for getting people to stay in my life. It did not work well (throws head back and laughs). There are a lot of factors we could get into here around depressive and anxious thinking, but bottom line, I couldn’t enjoy the very wonderful people in my life because I was so terrified of always losing them–in essence, trying to “pack” as many people as possible out of the anxiety that if I ran out of one person, I might be able to get another. I am very sorry.

One thing that is absolutely true and totally incomprehensible to a depressed brain is that loneliness, like all moods, is temporary, and the people that should be in your life are the ones that come back to you by themselves. No offense to my friends, but I’m not stressed out about losing any single one of them because I can trust myself enough now to know that I’ll be able to make the right friends for wherever I’m at. It also helps that people generally like it when you just genuinely like being with them. :shrugs emoji:

The power for “pack for your best day” ultimately comes back to self-trust. You will figure it out, and more importantly, you will be okay. I like it because it’s not at all saying that the worst day won’t happen, just that there’s no need to carry around the burden of it before it does happen. I also recognize what a privilege it is to be able to think this way–not everyone is in the position to quit their jobs and trust that another will be available, and there was a time when reading this would have made me roll my eyes and cry in frustration. But I stand by it for me and for today. And to pack for my next trip!

2 thoughts on “Pack for your best day

  1. Well said!


  2. Good post Shelby! It is always important to do everything in life with confidence and feeling everything is going to be fine either way, this works for you in two ways: first, you remove the nervousness and reduce the chance of sloppy mistakes, second it moves the bar higher to what you can achieve since you remove of your way. It would be naive, though, to discard every possible contingency in the spirit of optimism, but rather use your experience to be prepared to at least survive the worse without over doing it.
    I share something I’ve learned, also from outdoorsy literature: The stages of mastering an art are fear, respect and confidence. With this I say, your fearful past makes your confident present.


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