Repacking Your Bags

Book Review: Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Good Life

Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Good Life

Are you at a place in your life where you are facing a new path? Has a new path been chosen for you by the loss of a job or change in your health?  Has there been an event in your family – a new baby or loss of a loved one?  Outgrown your house? Want to downsize? Move to Mexico? Is it time once again to step back and do some serious thinking about the next chapter?  Richard Leider and David Shapiro have written Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Good Life with you in mind.

This book is for students, homemakers, business people, professionals and retirees. It is about making choices, after having a courageous conversation with yourself (and perhaps others).  Consider these questions:

  •                                     What’s next for me?
  •                                     Why doesn’t all this make me happy?
  •                                     What do I want to be when I grow up?
  •                                     How can I find my life’s work?
  •                                     How shall I reimagine my life?

We have a long life span, and the career and relationship choices we made in our youth may have served us well for our whole lives, but chances are some of them have been discarded for new adventures along the way. Imagine you have a backpack crammed with all the stuff you have in your life, including people.  Is your stuff weighing you down?  “The Packing Principle” states that we keep adding things and responsibilities until we get to a point where we cannot carry them anymore.  It is time to lighten your load.  Cleaning out the closet and donating to charity helps. Going through the pantry and discarding unused and out-of-date food is easy.  Putting your home on the market and buying a different one may be appropriate. Or not.  It isn’t what we have, it’s how we have it.  The challenge is to match our values today with our stuff, so that what we have is what we want, both literally and figuratively.

What is The Good Life?  It is a life that gives an authentic sense of joy.  Here is Leider and Shapiro’s definition:

Living in a place you belong, with  the people you love, doing the right work on purpose.

We re-imagine over and over again as circumstances change.  Our lives do not proceed in a tidy straight line, but contain hills and valleys, switch-backs, and unexpected zig-zags.  A little help is sometimes required.  In this wise and practical guide, the authors offer the reader exercises and stories to assist with the challenging work of examining what is in the backpack and determining what should be kept and what should be left, this time, at this junction in the road.

Barbara Shorrock

Barbara Shorrock is a reader, writer, gardener, traveler, ESL coach and retired realtor. She can be found most first Wednesdays at the Queensland Garden Club, which welcomes all gardeners, new and experienced.  We don’t care where you live.






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