If I have one great talent, it is asking the question “What if….”
It is a question I use in my day-job career: “What if we tried to do this, would the rankings improve…”
It is a question I use in my writing: “What if this happened, what would happen to the world?”
It is a question I ask myself in my daily life.
I like to plan ahead. I will think logically through the whole day ahead of me to decide what goes into my bag. I do this for bike rides, for days at work, for weekend shopping trips. This is how I pack suitcases for trips. I ask “what if…”
This takes time, preparation. It takes a few moments of mental modeling the entire day ahead to know to slip a granola bar in my purse for when the kid gets hungry between stops.
I pack as light as possible, but I pack for every contingency.
Yes, I often carry a full first-aid kit. Because I’m often going places by foot, I also have to consider the weight and bulk of each item. Does the possible need for the item out-weigh it’s potential for use? How easily can I purchase something while I’m out if the need arises?
I’ve gotten the suitcase thing down. I can go anywhere in a light carry-on and a big purse or laptop bag. I’m happy to use garments or objects in multiple ways, reusing things to cut down on the bulk.
One place I haven’t gotten it figured out yet is hiking. My backpack contained pounds of what-ifs. An ace bandage, spare batteries, a spare pen for my journal…. All of these what-ifs. All of these tiny anxieties. I haul them around with me for a whole week and then wonder why I packed them at all.
The phrase describing them as “anxieties” in the paragraph above is particularly telling. I have a blog post brewing about anxiety. I write a lot about it, but I rarely address it head on. For now, I will say that I know my job is to ask the question. I know my talent is seeing the logical conclusions of the what-if scenarios that I consider.
But now that I think about it, I don’t really know whether it’s my job to carry everything to deal with those contingencies.