Packing Strategies For Midlife, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:46am
I like packing, as long as I have enough time. My strategy is to put everything out the day before I go. That allows me to survey the territory (otherwise known as look at stacks and stacks of my stuff), and consider. When I have time to look, I usually get it right.
When I hurry, I almost always get it wrong.
Younger, I bulled ahead, charging, horns lowered, shoulders working. What I lacked in finesse or foresight I made up for in stamina and quick reflexes. Now I know I have to see things to think about them. It's hard to see when I rush around.
Cognitive skills come in many styles. Some people can only think about things they have picked up, held, or walked with. Some people have to effectively embroider anything they are going to know. Visual, gross motor, small motor, whatever your bent, when you are older and faced with something important you've got to rely on the tried and true. You need a sharply honed sense of your cognitive habits and skills.
But I look ahead. This approach to aging can lead to an ever-closing spiral of limiting rituals. If you never see anything new, can you still know anything new? If you try to focus on what you know you're good at, do you find yourself doing less and less? The young suffer little repercussion from waste of time and effort. They can flail. Little damage done. Just compensate for thoughtlessness with activity. Sheer volume of new experience will guarantee anyone who keeps their eyes open some new knowledge. I'm 53. The shift is real.
In midlife you've got youth and age to either side, and you want to understand each so as to sit fully in your self. Whether or not your self is sitting on a sofa.
This morning I'm just packing. I'm only 53. No expectation that the meaning of our time on this earth will reveal itself, with trumpets. Harps. Or timpani. At least not this morning. A brown paisley belt lies on the settee. I'm also bringing sunhat, camera, and European plug adaptors. Time to move wet laundry from washer to dryer. The cycle complete alert has buzzed.