How much does your life weigh?

How much does your life weigh?

Imagine for a second that you’re carrying a backpack. I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders. Feel them?
Now I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. You start with the little things, the things on shelves and in drawers, the knickknacks, the collectibles. Feel the weight as that adds up.
Then you start adding the larger stuff: clothes; tabletop appliances; lamps; linens; your TV.
The backpack should be getting pretty heavy now and you go bigger: your couch, bed, your kitchen table. Stuff it all in there. Your car, get it in there. Your home, whether it’s a studio apartment or a two-bedroom house. I want you to stuff it all into that backpack.
This is what we do to ourselves on a daily basis. We weigh ourselves down until we can’t even move. And make no mistake, moving is living.
Now, I’m going to set that backpack on fire.
What do you want to take out of it? Photos? Photos are for people who can’t remember. Drink some ginko and let the photos burn.
In fact, let everything burn and imagine waking up tomorrow with nothing. It’s kind of exhilarating, isn’t it?
Now, this is going to be a little difficult. So stay with me.

You have a new backpack. Only this time, I want you to fill it with people.
Start with casual acquaintances, friends of friends, folks around the office. Then you move in the people that you trust with your most intimate secrets. Your cousins, your aunts, your uncles, your brothers, your sisters, your parents. And finally, your husband, your wife, your boyfriend or your girlfriend. You get them into that backpack.
Don’t worry I’m not going to ask you to light it on fire.
Feel the weight of the bag. Make no mistake, your relationships are the heaviest components in your life. Do you feel the straps cutting into your shoulders? All those negotiations and arguments and secrets and compromises.
You don’t need to carry all that weight. Why don’t you set that bag down?
Some animals were meant to carry each other, to live symbiotically for a lifetime. Star-crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not those animals.

The slower we move, the faster we die. We are not swans. We’re sharks.

The speach from ‘Up in the air

2 thoughts on “How much does your life weigh?

  1. This reminds me of the time I first met my former Manager, Richard. I was working for a small software company that had been acquired and my new boss was flying from California to Massachusetts to meet me. He was to be there for only 1 day and I had spent the previous night in the emergency room with my 4 yr old daughter. She had an intestinal blockage and they admitted her, (given a room in the upper floors after spending the night in the emergency unit). I drove home, showered and drove the hour to my office. I introduced myself to Richard and said, “I have to leave to be with my daughter” He was very understanding and I left. I was very nervous about making an impression and felt bad about spending only 5 minutes after he travelled 3000 miles to meet me. When i arrived back at the hospital I checked my email on my PDA and found an email from Richard that was sent to all of his staff. Subject LIne: The Mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee –
    When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

    A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

    The professor then picked up a box of marbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The marbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

    The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

    The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

    “Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—God, your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

    The marbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

    The sand is everything else—the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the marbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

    “Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

    One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.

    It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”
    __________________

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    1. The exact opposite idea. Thank you very much Brian!

      I’m closer in my believes to the one you’ve posted, but felt more often the “Up in the Air” feeling, at least till now.

      PS:
      This is exactly what I appreciate the most in a conversation:
      A different idea from the one I already know🙂

      Like

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