I find myself with one day to go before we set off on the big trip down under. Now, I have decided in the main what I want to take in the clothing department, and which suitcase I will take. But this really is only about half the job. In my past I used to make a list of everything that I was planning to take on a trip with me, often a few weeks in advance. All outer layer clothing items were listed under categorical headings: trousers; shirts; jumpers; shoes; coats. I used to count how many pieces of underwear were required and carefully record that too. I would also list the books I wanted to take and other items such as binoculars, camera, journals. Then packing would proceed in an orderly manner according to the list.
Today I do not have a list of the items that will end up in Australia on Sunday. I am not even sure I completely know what those items will be, I don’t have them all in one place and I certainly don’t have them anywhere near a suitcase. To my former self this feels highly unorganised and scary, a “flying by the seat of the pants” moment to pick out a pertinent metaphor.
The previous lists I made served the purpose of tightly managing the environment around me. I wanted to be in control; keeping control of the environment gave me the illusion of being in charge of what happened around me, and this increased a feeling of safety and security within me.
I realise now that very many of my former habits have slipped away as I have become more aware of how life is free-flowing, and I don’t have control. I used to be organised and ultra tidy – I could hardly tolerate any type of disruption or unforeseen event – now I still prefer not to have unanticipated things happen, but I am less likely to freak out. I can accept a level of disorder or muddle, and if I spot that I am starting to notice or fret about it then I know it is a fair indication that my stress levels have risen.
So, the packing will happen tomorrow morning, I am not unduly concerned about the content. I am much more of the opinion now that as long as I have my tickets, passport and some money – then for everything else there is Mastercard…