A few years ago, I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Allison Vesterfelt and her husband Darrell. They were in town promoting her book, Packing Light, and wanted to meet up at Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Since then, we’ve become really close friends, but it was her story that really impacted me.
Allison began to realize a number of things were holding her back from what she believed was really important in life. She decided to quit her full-time job, sold nearly everything she owned and spent the next six months driving across the country.
She learned some powerful lessons about traveling — many of which pertain to all of life:
1. You can’t take everything with you.
2. What you choose to bring matters.
3. You will have to leave some things behind.
Realizations of My Own
They must have known I was traveling the following day, as they gave me a copy of the book with a heartfelt message inside. I had planned on waiting until I was on the plane to start reading the book, but I simply couldn’t wait.
I began reading it that night, and admit a lot of the same questions she asked herself are ones I’ve asked myself many times. I was excited to continue reading the book when I had some free time that weekend, but was hesitant to move forward since I wanted to internalize what I had read so far and sit within that.
I’m a firm believer that far too often we miss calls in our life because we’re too busy, or because we simply have too many things on our plate.
While society tells us to keep going, to stay active and always be moving the needle, our souls tragically suffer from that kind of lifestyle. It happens to me more than I’d like to admit, but sometimes I catch the signs and realize just how important these feelings are.
Take another look at the 3 lessons Allison learned on her journey, and tell me if any of those resonate with you. I’m not talking about real baggage here, like clothing and other household items. I’m talking about emotional capacity, and whether or not we have the courage to admit our tanks are empty.
Too Much vs. Too Little
One of the biggest issues we face is the constant bombardment of distractions — many of which are self-induced, but nonetheless they still exist and disrupt our lives. We watch too much television. We spend too much time playing video games. We work more hours than we should be working.
Or even worse, many of us are trapped in the social media quagmire which, as I’ve experienced at times, can absolutely kill our soul.
When things get to this level, you have to make changes. At some point you need to call a timeout and recalibrate your life before it’s too late.
After getting through the first couple chapters of Allison’s book, I had to stop in my tracks and do some thinking. Why do I feel so busy in life? Why do I feel like I can’t get it all done? Why do I feel like I’m living a life of quantity and not a life of quality?
One of the things I’m realizing is that I’m following too many people on social media. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually scrolled through that list and today I have started to unfollow people to help with this particular issue.
You might be wondering why I’m doing this, and the answer is really simple. I don’t have the capacity in my life to carry excess baggage and only want to take with me what is necessary. I don’t want to follow people just because.
I want to spend my time on social media as efficiently as I can — to learn from others and read things spoken by people I care about. This might sound a bit harsh, but if I don’t continually refine the way I do life, I’ll be overwhelmed and will ultimately be buried by it.
Take a deep look inward and ask yourself if there is any excess baggage you are carrying. Are you following numbers or following people? Is there room in your life for more? Are the margins in your life so small there’s nothing left for adding things that bring value?
Open your suitcase and see what’s weighing you down or holding you back. Remove the things you can do without, and add the things you can’t.
Pack lightly, my friends.