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Why Pack Ultralight

I really agonized over the purchase of my latest jacket. For about fifty dollars more, I could get a jacket that was .8 ounces lighter than the other one. It sounds crazy just writing that. In the end I found a deal to get that jacket for the same price, so I was spared the agony of having to make decision.

Managing every ounce in a backpack sounds ridiculous. I get it. It seems like obsession gone awry, excess for its own sake.

But a couple weeks ago, walking through Budapest, I decided to take my backpack with me for the day. I wasn't sure if I'd find some time to sit and do some work, and we were thinking of going to baths, where I'd prefer to have my own soaps. But, as it was our first day in a new city, there would be a lot of walking.

We barely took public transport, instead walking miles up and down streets, across bridges, and up a huge hill for the view. And, for maybe the first time, I realized that I didn't notice the weight of my bag at all. At nine pounds or so, it was so light that it didn't encumber me in any way.


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I'm not sure what I'm more scared of, failure or success.

Failure, in my mind, would involve being judged by other people and being ostracized from those whose respect I crave. I fear failure because I want to be "cool," I want other people to be moved by the things I create. I am afraid that if I am not good enough in the eyes of those around me I will not be accepted as part of the pack.

Success is another story entirely. I fear success because, to be cliche, "with power comes responsibility." I fear that I will have some success, but I won't be strong enough to live up to the expectations I have set. I fear that if I realize my true potential, I will be locked into a path that I will be unable to break free from. I also fear that by being successful I would be ostracized as well. It seems so much more comfortable to just flow with the status quo, don't make any waves, and don't try to change anything.

Both of these fears, it seems, ultimately stem from the fear of judgement. I have no idea how to free myself from this. One way that I can work towards overcoming this fear, is to be mindful when I am judging myself or other people. If I can break my own habit of being judgmental, the fear will have less control over me.

In a few hours I'll be getting on my flight to Sweden! Regardless of my fears I am about to embark on a major life transition. Two months in Sweden, one month back in Arizona, and then return to Brooklyn to become a full-time student. I'm excited and nervous and I can't wait to see how it all plays out. After talking about the plans and goals I would like to accomplish while overseas, I've decided that perhaps they were a bit too ambitious. I want to set more attainable goals that will give me some leeway to make mistakes and improve. Rather than trying to meditate, exercise, and write every morning, and beatbox and freestyle every evening, I'll make it a goal to accomplish three of those five things, four days a week. Setting more achievable goals will help me to build successful momentum.

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