Training over the last few months for a backpacking trip, I’ve gotten turned on to the ultralight gear community. Search “ultralight backpacking” on YouTube, and you’ll quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of available content. Specifically, for an ultralight backpacker, the goal is to minimize the weight you carry on your trip. Simply put, carry less stuff and bring lighter gear.

As I’ve been training with my own gear and backpack, I’ve learned that there is something to this ultralight method. Every pound, and even ounce, that I can get off my back will make my time in the mountains more comfortable and enjoyable. At this point, hauling unnecessary weight makes no sense. I am working to eliminate as much as possible, which leads me to my point…

How often in life are we carrying around extra weight that we don’t need to?

Let’s start with emotional baggage, for example, unforgiveness and anger. Having walked through a relationship that ended in divorce, it would have been easy to carry around resentment and unforgiveness. In fact, I did carry that around with me for a while. Then I realized that as long as I was spending my energy hauling around those negative emotions, I couldn’t spend it on more positive things in my life. I could only carry so much weight, and I needed to choose what I would set down so I could carry something else. So with that, I left unforgiveness and anger on the side of my path.

What else do we haul around with us every day? How about the weight of comparison? “If only I had that, I’d be content.” “Those people on Instagram look happier than I do.” “I bet their marriage is perfect.” Here’s another reality check. Comparison is a heavy load to carry, and again, as long as we’re spending our energy hauling it around, we’re left with no room to be content and joyful in our lives. Once I figured that out, I left comparison on the side of my path.

One final example takes this conversation about the weight we carry to a very literal place. I was carrying around some extra physical weight a couple of years ago. Not only did it slow me down, but it sucked my energy. I was getting through my days but not feeling good in the process. Feeling physically “off” is another heavy weight to carry and one that most of us settle for in our lives. I did. Then I realized there was another option, one that would take some work and sacrifice, but ultimately would help me live a fuller life. Today, I’ve left some of my physical weight on the side of my path.

The Takeaway

Maybe one of these examples landed for you. Maybe none of them did, but something else came to mind. My point is simple. We all have things in our lives that we’ve been carrying around for years, maybe decades… things we know are weighing us down. As cliche as this may sound, today is the day where you can choose to set some stuff down along the side of your own path. 

Get after it.

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