Packing Up Your Life

While packing and in life, the question “what do I really need?” is such a fruitful one.

At this moment I should be packing. In fact the process hasn’t stopped, and in a corner of my mind I am still running over lists, just touching them to make sure they are still there and still make sense, shortening them when I can with a tiny thrill of satisfaction and relief. We are one step closer to getting on the plane tonight.

This process of packing up the things we need and securing the things we are leaving behind, throwing out half the contents of the fridge in the process, is both seemingly insurmountable, and full of small successes. It keeps me constantly focused on what is the most important. How many clothes do I actually wear in the course of two weeks? Which of these books does my daughter really love? Which is the most practical? The most beautiful? The most multi-functional? The lightest and most compact? And then the question arises — why do we have all the other versions?

The question “what do I really need?” is such a fruitful one. Thinking of the stir caused by Dr Carver’s post on losers and abusers here in this blog spot, I remembered a client of mine, years ago, who had lived with an abuser for so long that this question was an absolutely revolutionary one. To consider herself, then to consider that she might need something, then to feel what fitted, what the right thing might be…it was all a dangerous, liberating process. At first of course it felt artificial, a question she asked mechanically throughout each day because her counsellor had suggested it. But slowly she began to claw back a little space from his overwhelming needs and demands. She realised that her feet were cold and she needed new shoes. Then the needs started coming thick and fast, to be heard, to hear, to be loved, to love, and eventually she packed a bag full of her old black clothes and bought a red scarf.

How good it feels to have it all in one place, all we really need. Then we can move ahead. And if the bags are lost, all we really need is each other.

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by on .

3 Comments on “Packing Up Your Life”

Would you like to join the discussion on “Packing Up Your Life”?

Overseen by an international advisory board of distinguished academic faculty and mental health professionals with decades of clinical and research experience in the US, UK and Europe, provides peer-reviewed mental health information you can trust. Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified mental health professional. is accredited by the Health on the Net Foundation.

Copyright © 2002-2021. All Rights Reserved.