WHEN YOU CARRY IT WELL
By: Lauren Anderson
Before I left the restaurant, I needed to go to the bathroom.
I was just gonna make a quick dash there. So I handed my sister my backpack that was casually slung over my shoulder, and she put out a hand out to grab it.
Right before I released it to her care I said, “Careful, it’s heavy.”
And she grabbed it with one hand and it went straight down to the floor. She goes “Jesus Laurie!” And I simply said, “I know.”
When I got back from the restroom, she handed it back and said “What the hell do you got in this thing?”
And I said, “My whole life.”
I’m not lying either. I had my computer which is what I do work and (watch tv) on, and medicine and clothes and food, and pretty much everything I need to get myself from point A to Point B in a day.
And she’s right. IT IS HEAVY.
When I got home that night I decided to weigh my backpack on my bathroom scale just to see what I was working with. And the damn thing weighed 45 pounds.
Or at least it did that day.
45 pounds?! Seriously?!?!? I wasn’t expecting that.
That’s a heavy bag. Hell, that’s the size of a small child. But I just fling on one shoulder and go.
And I don’t think twice about it usually.
But the fact that I don’t think twice about it, of course got me thinking. Cause this kind of small stuff always does.
How heavy are the things that we carry every day, and don’t even realize it?
I’m not just talking about literal backpacks either. What about the emotional strain, family, heartache, loss, climate change etc etc. These are all things we carry around with us. And depending on the day or the time in our lives, the weight of it all can be pretty stupendous.
Nobody would know the weight of it unless they asked to help shoulder the load.
People carry around all this stuff with them and make it look easy. Or maybe they’re just used to it, so it doesn’t seem like all that much anyway. Until someone else reminds us that it’s ACTUALLY A LOT.
And then I am thinking about a quote I saw on a friend’s FB page the other day. I don’t remember who the quote was by, sorry about that, but it said,
“Just because they carry it well, doesn’t mean it’s not heavy.”
And now I’m thinking about my doctor asking about my asthma. She goes, “So how is it lately?” And I answer, “Oh pretty good.” And she says, “Well let’s check just so I have a number to write down.”
And we do the blowy thingy. And I blow a 6. Out of ten. The average non-asthmatic blows 9s and 10s easily. But I thought I was pretty good at a “6”.
I didn’t know what I was missing out on, because I’ve never known it another way.
I remember feeling kinda gobsmacked that day. For as good as I was breathing, there was still an opportunity to breathe 4 points better. WHAT IS THAT LIFE LIKE?!?!
* * *
So back to the burden of carrying. I credit weight-lifting and being strong to my ability to shoulder that backpack so easily. And in a way, I have helped train my body so I can accomplish the life that I live.
Kinda equivalent to “getting in shape” so one could “keep up with there kids” kind of thing.
But it is a good reminder to myself that when things get tough, I don’t need to beat myself up for feeling the weight of it all. Because sometimes my life– just like that backpack– is heavier than it seems.
It’s also good to know I can put it down when I need to, and there are plenty of hands just like my sisters, to help along the way.
But just because I can carry it, doesn’t mean it’s not heavy.