Thursday, December 10, 2009

Carrying Around Extra Baggage

I am traveling now for something professional and had the urge to look somewhat professional. This meant that I ditched the $2.50 backpack I got from Target* for the trip and decided to use a nicer, over the shoulder bag. It does look really nice but it is not as comfortable (and probably not good for my back…I despise heels and won’t sacrifice my comfort for those, but cute bags are my weakness…but I digress…).

On the way here, I had a stack of unread People and Cooking Light magazines in my bag. Today, I left them at home. On the way to my panel in the morning, I had a full water bottle and stack of 10ish proposals, each about 30-50 or so pages long as well as a full water bottle. As I walked to the Metro, I was thinking I had made a terrible decision to bring this bag. It was annoyingly heavy and uncomfortable!

Over the course of the day, I drank all the water and ended up leaving the proposals behind (they shred them after they are reviewed in the interest of confidentiality). This meant on the way home I only had my computer, my Kindle, and my purse in my bag. OMG, it made so so much of a difference! Seriously! So so so much lighter.

A liter of water weighs 2.5ish pounds. If you’re generous, the bottle and carabineer are a pound. I have no idea how much 400 pieces of paper weigh, but probably about 5 lbs. Together these things weigh less than 10 lbs. It’s really not much but at the same time it made a world of difference like you would not even believe. I felt like I barely even noticed the bag I was carrying around anymore.

On the way home I thought to myself, “Wow, I have lost 40-45 lbs.” (depending on the day) I don’t think about it that much or that often, but that THAT IS A LOT for my body to carry around on a daily basis. I am sure that the wear and tear on my body as a result was beyond significant. However I never thought about it. I can verify that now I feel better and I am sure that part of it is just because I have so much less weight to tote around. I really only thought about how much physical weight that actually is today. Usually I think about it in terms of progress, just as a metric.

I have, depending on the calculations, 80-100 more to lose. That is a ton. That is like carrying around a fourth grader on my back all day, everyday. Could you imagine? So much extra baggage.

I need to shed this baggage. Putting things into some perspective that I can understand or relate to (e.g., I have lost 8 bags of sugar) is startling, and really really amazing. However, it is humbling when I think of how much I have to go (16-20 bags of sugar….dang). If carrying just 10 or so fewer pounds in my bag makes a difference, imagine how much of a difference losing 80 lbs will be.

*Yes this bag cost literally $2.50. It was originally $10, but I got it on clearance for 75% off.


  1. I know this wasn't the point of the post... (which by the way congratulations and yes that is an interesting way to put it into perspective!)... How do you ilke your Kindle? I was considering it, but they're more than I want to spend and I feel like I'd be scared to break it, also I think I'd miss the smell of books. Also, I'm not sure why I would need all of my "books" with me at all times. Would you recommend it?

  2. Sorry Lisa, I just saw this comment today...I like my Kindle, but I don't love it. I think it depends upon how much you like to buy books how much you'd love it. Except for some classics with no copyright protection, you need to buy the book in order to read it. I'm not familiar with any rental-type policies. If you like to get books from the library you're out of luck. I think buying the books adds up for sure, even though they are cheaper than buying paper books. That's my $0.02 :)


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