Not Yet !

What is it about packing that makes my blood run cold? We are set to leave for our next vacation Sunday morning, just two days from now. Truthfully, I should currently be packing, but I have chosen to write about why I’m not packing instead. My wife and travel mate, Deb, was packed a full two weeks ago, but I just can’t seem to start. It’s not that I am not looking forward to the trip, I am in fact really excited to get away. But none the less, my habit of packing procrastination is on high alert, sort of def con 3.

I have created an entire handbook full of reasons for not packing ahead of time. What if before we leave, I need one of the pieces of clothing I packed? What will the weather be where we are going? God knows you can’t trust a forecast more than a day out. What am I going to do with those last minute items? I would have to unpack just to get them in the ideal position within my suitcase. And what if TSA makes a new requirement I will have to pass? My list is limitless and the bottom line is that there is always tomorrow.

My m. o. has always been to pack about one hour before we leave. Much to my wife’s chagrin, she has been repeatedly unsuccessful in trying to change me. Even so, she has never had to leave without me, close calls a few times, but I’ve always come through. There was that one time. We had a 6:00 am flight to catch which meant pickup by our Uber driver at 4:00 am. My wife likes to have a full hour getting ready in the morning, so our wake up alarm was set for 2:45 am. Plenty of time for me to dress AND to pack. Everything should have worked except for one tiny hitch, daylight savings time began that morning. The result, a record setting run for both of us. My wife showered and dressed while I literally threw everything into my suitcase all in 15 minutes. This experience should have been a wake up call, no pun intended, but instead, became my new benchmark.

The art of packing is just that, an art. Some, like my wife, view it as a planning activity. Others a means of extending their vacation anticipation period. I view it as a track meet. Sort of a 100 yard dash at most. It’s not just a question of can I finish the race, but how fast can I do it. I have been looking forward to this trip ever since we laid the initial plans, but the packing, that’s another thing.

Fear not. We leave at 7:00 am Sunday morning, plenty of time to pack that suitcase. Though I will for sure be seeing the sun rise that morning, I promised Deb, my suitcase will be in the car by the deadline. Am I packed? ……………. Not yet.

I Didn’t Do Anything

I lead a comfortable life. I am able to be charitable, to travel freely, and to not struggle with the necessities of life. I believe that I have been successful in work and life. Recently, I tried to look back on the things that I have accomplished and came to the realization that there wasn’t a single one that I could identify as something I did alone. That the accomplishment was mine and mine alone. What I actually came to realize was that those things were always accomplished through the combined efforts of the people I have surrounded myself with.

Throughout my life I have always had people I could lean on for support. When I was young, it was coaches, teachers, and my dad. As I aged and entered the workforce, my support network were co-workers more experienced than me, and mentors so willing to lend advice. Multiple co-teachers were there to assist in the projects I was developing, to give advice and at time to be my promotors. In my years as a teacher, I had invaluable teaching assistants to ease the burden of my often overloaded classroom. When I entered the private sector, I had experienced co-workers who shared their knowledge and skill with me while assisting in the plans I was developing for my clients. At work I was surrounded by an incredible support staff who took my ideas and strategies and did the paperwork to make them working plans. And in my personal life, I had my partner in marriage to do the social and family planning that kept me on track and motivated. As she would tell you, without her it is doubtful that I would have ever showed up anywhere on time or possibly not at all.

My point is that what we accomplish in life is always a collaborative effort. We are never alone if we know where to look. That said, it is so important for us to acknowledge those people in life who are part of our team. I ask people to avoid using the word “just” when they describe what they do. Who was the most important person in a successful, possibly life saving, surgery? Was it the surgeon, or was it the nurse who prepped the patient? Or, was it the person who collected the garbage outside of the surgeon’s home so that he could concentrate on the surgery and not whether the trash was picked up? I would contend that each person involved at any level in the process, shares in the success of the outcome.

I am the cumulative result of all of the people in my life who shared in the process that has led to my successes. Hopefully at least a few of them are reading this and know that they are appreciated and loved for the impact they have had on my life and the things we have done, together. I didn’t do anything, alone.