I used to backpack several times a year, carrying up to 50 pounds of gear in my JanSport pack. No matter how hard I prepared the trips were always a challenge. I mean really, how can anyone train for a backpacking trip where you carry 1/3 of your body weight for eight hours a day?
Well, you can actually do that. Just get fat. I weighed a nice 145 pounds back then. Today, well, let’s just say I have been carrying that back pack and more for years. Sure I have strong legs. But I also have bad knees, inflammation, and a hard time finding clothes that I feel good in. As I age, it becomes harder and harder to shed the pounds that have been with me for decades. And the longer I keep carrying them, the more damage they do.
It isn’t just extra fat that hurts us. We can also carry a backpack of past hurts, emotional fat so to speak. These grudges weigh more than a meteor and can harm us emotionally just as bad as fat can damage us physically.
How do you know if you are carrying a backpack full of old grudges?
Ask yourself, “How long ago did this egregious act happen to me?” If it was longer than a month then you are a grudge hoarder, someone who lives their life as a victim. If it is longer than 10 years you should consider the self-help section at your local bookstore. If it is when you were in high school 20 or 30 years ago, you need a therapist and your own reality show on A&E. Seriously, you will be weighed down by the emotional backpack you put on every morning and you will never be able to fly nor fully mature into the beautiful flower you were promised at birth. As I tell my Beagle when he has grabbed one of my Smartwool socks, “Let it go!”
This is not to say that people haven’t had bad things happen to them. We all experience such things. But why define ourselves by them? Why not instead define ourselves by our accomplishments and victories instead of our defeats and challenges? I bet those of us who have a laundry list a mile long of “who done me wrongs” probably have a list three miles long of impressive accomplishments and “who done me rights”. It is just figuring out which list you want to live your life by, which flag you want to run up the pole.
I think a great illustration of this can be found on the internet. Have you ever had a health issue and searched for your symptoms? I have come across websites where people complain loudly and beneath their signature they proudly list out every diagnosis in their medical record as though they were college degrees.
“Jon S. Ick. Type II Diabetes, Ulcerative coalitus, Crohn’s Disease, Hashimoto’s syndrome, osteoarthritis Type 3 class B, Lymes’ Disease, dry eyes, insomnia, restless leg syndrome.”
That is not how I would want to define myself. But hey, everyone is entitled to live in their misery.