# of pages revised: 21
# of literary mags submitted to: 0
other: a blogger (Holly Michelle Current) mentioned my story, “Red,” on her blog
I spent the week before Christmas at my boyfriend Paul’s apartment in Hyattsville, Maryland. On the twenty-second, I packed up all of my clothes, snacks, technological devices, and Christmas presents and drove down to Richmond, Virginia to spend the holidays with my family. It wasn’t until much later, when I got out my computer to put on my Pandora Christmas station, that I realized I’d left the power cord to my laptop at Paul’s place.
What followed was, I’ll admit, a hissy fit. We tried the power cord to my mom’s computer, but it didn’t work in mine. We called my brother, the tech guru, but he didn’t have a cord that would work with my machine. Paul was at his parent’s house in North Carolina, so he couldn’t mail me the cord, and I didn’t have a key to his apartment – not that I’d even consider driving back up to the DC area with the atrocious holiday traffic.
So I pouted and whined, and my voice reached a shrill, obnoxious octave that few people besides my mom and brother have ever heard. Of course, there was no one to blame but myself, and that made it all the worse. I felt really stupid.
I knew I couldn’t survive without my laptop for a week, and besides, I had tutoring sessions scheduled with Sergey and Natalia (my Ukrainian tutees) for the days following Christmas. The only solution was to spend fifty bucks on a new power cord, which is what I did.
All-in-all, I was upset for about forty-five minutes. Then I just gave a big sigh and said, “it’s only money. And a year from now, this won’t really matter at all.” I got over it and moved on.
* * *
When I told Sergey about this incident, he told me I shouldn’t have even wasted forty-five minutes being upset because life is too short to spend it worrying about things that can’t be changed. “Just be sad for one second,” he told me, “then say, ‘ok’ and do something else.”
“Hey, at least I was only upset for forty-five minutes,” I told him. “Some people would have let a thing like that ruin their whole day.” Then I explained to him the meaning of the phrase, “it’s all relative.”
Of course, Sergey is an expert at packing for trips. He is constantly traveling back and forth from New York, where he lives with his family, to Moscow and Kiev, where he has offices for the company of which he is the CEO.
I asked Sergey about his packing regimen. He said that, first of all, he’s realized that if he has enough clothes for three or four days, he will have enough for any amount of time. “I have pieces of clothing that can be put into different costumes,” he said. (This is when I taught him the phrase “mix and match.”)
He also said that he always puts the power cords for his devices in his suitcase first. Good advice, Serg.
“Every time before I go,” he said, “I imagine my new place and me there doing something that I am going to do. It helps me to realize if I forget something or not.”
I told him that I do that, too, sort of. Every night when I was in high school, and often when I was a teacher, I would lay in bed and imagine myself going through my upcoming day. It helped me ensure that I had done everything I needed to do for a smooth and successful day.
Today I am packing up and heading back to Paul’s apartment for a week. This is going to be my life for a while: floating between Richmond and the DC area. Not as crazy and floating between New York and Eastern Europe, but still, I’m going to be living out of a suitcase for the next three months.
This morning I took a walk and started thinking about all of the things I needed to bring with me to Maryland. (Sparkly tights for New Years and my bag of flax seeds were at the top of the list.) I hate to over-pack, but on the other hand, I don’t want to forget something important.
As I let myself back in the house, I thought of Sergey’s advice, and suddenly, it seemed to be about more than just packing for a trip. It seemed to be about life.
Imagine yourself in your new place. Imagine where you will be – or where you want to be – in the future. Imagine yourself doing something there that you want to do. Do you have all the things you need to make this happen successfully? If not, where will you get the things you need? Better start gathering them now!
This morning, as I pack for my week at Paul’s, I’m going to think about the things I might need for a bigger trip: my journey into the future.
Imagine yourself in the places you’d like to be in 2013, doing the things you’d like to do. What sorts of things (material, spiritual, intellectual, or emotional) will you need there? What will you need to do to get there?