I asked my friend Dan Bellinger for a word to write about. He gave me a word. Backpack. And then he sent me this, which made me think. You may find it useful, too.


I carry a backpack with me wherever I go. It’s a brightly colored backpack that’s for short hiking trips. I have a big “Beat Ohio State” button on it, so people know it’s mine.

Several years ago, my friend Matt had one and let me check it out and I’ve had one ever since. Matt hikes, but I do not. Instead, I use it to carry all the important things that I need… well, important things… ok, I have a bunch of stuff in it. Its most important feature is that it’s with me as I go someplace, I can keep my work badge and keys clipped on it and know where they are. The rest of the stuff that ends up in it is a bonus of sorts.

Steph was asking me the other day, why I have all that stuff in it. So I dug through it and pulled out a bunch of random stuff that I had needed at the time, but not anymore. I had a dress shirt from work, some random paperwork, a receipt that had faded, a notebook that I had used for an event. There were a couple of books that I didn’t need. I was carrying around a bunch of extra stuff with me wherever I go.

Just the act of going through it, gave me the space to take out the unnecessary, and put it away. I didn’t need the shirt or the books. I didn’t need the notebook or that paperwork. I was free to throw away what needed to be trashed. I was able to put the work shirt back in the rotation.

Just stopping to examine what I was carrying around with me became the catalyst for dealing with some of the loose ends in my world.