Overpacking (or as subtitled by Mo "A Stellar Wife")

I used to travel for work a LOT.  Back before my son was born I was a consultant for a company that had me on the road at least one full week a month.  Some jobs I would stay onsite for weeks and only come home for weekends.  I don’t travel as much now, but packing has gotten harder.  The older I get, the harder it is to leave home and the more of my home life I end up wanting to take with me.  Of course, you can always buy what you need if you forget it, but many of the things I use and love are things you can’t go to Walmart or Target and replace. (That is a whole other post, lol).   As a result, I am a classic over packer.

Every what-if scenario gets consideration.  It’s springtime and sunny so short sleeves for sure except that I always get cold and it might rain so long sleeves and maybe we will go somewhere nice for dinner but I’m not sure if it will be really nice or semi-casual, so I need several choices for dress up.  Don’t even get me started on the pants and shoes to match these choices, or the pile of workout clothes that still need to be tucked in there somewhere…. This last trip also included all my rug-hooking clobber, so this time I actually needed a second suitcase to cram it all in. 

It’s somewhat funny, because in reality my daily life is actually somewhat pared down compared to many people.  We have a very small house with very little storage space, so we get by with not a lot of excess ‘stuff’.  You’d think I could carry that over into my travels, but I subscribe to the theory that it is better to have something and not need it then to be comfortable carrying your bags through the airport. 

Everyone, no matter what their current life looks like, has all the normal stuff and issues that come with being human and having a life and a family and friends and a job.  Some of that stuff is really important.  Some of that stuff isn’t.  It’s just all there in a big pile.  PD is kind of like someone just told you that you also need to plan for a blizzard at the beginning of the trip, a heat wave at the end, snorkeling on Tuesday, oh, and you will be meeting the Queen so pack a nice ballgown.  But you still only have one suitcase.  😊

Now, you have a giant mess.  You have the important stuff and the petty stuff and the semi-annoying stuff and the PD all crammed in there together.  I think I wrote something last week about how a PD diagnosis doesn’t mean you get to sweep away and forget whatever relationship issues you had previously.  You do still have to deal with them, and you CANNOT ignore them.  However, right now I am feeling like that overpacked traveler, lugging three carryon bags onto the airplane and annoying the shit out of all the other people who just want to take off already. 

Now might be a good time to look very hard at that pile of crap and determine whether I am carrying WAY more than I need to be carrying.  This journey we are on is monumental, and now is the time to try and lighten the load.  There are things in the grand scheme that just have to go.  Things that seemed super-important a few months ago have sort of fallen down the priority list.  Unfortunately, I am still clutching ALL the old stuff while I try to juggle the new and I am having a hard time dealing with everything. 

My stress level has been fairly high, my sleep is bad, and my judgment is somewhat suspect right now.  I started a very unnecessary fight with my Parkie over some of that old ‘stuff’ that I’m holding onto, and I didn’t do it in a thoughtful or positive way.    None of us is perfect, and we have all started things and handled situations in ways that we shouldn’t have.  I’ll give all of us a break for being human.  But this is a public apology for my guy, who really took a mental whack to the head from me because I was stressed out.  There are things that I have to let go of to lighten the load for both of us, and I am having a hard time with that.  I’ll try to be better, which is all any of us can promise, right?

My advice to you guys (and to myself) is deep breaths (and probably a margarita or two).  Put a mental time-delay on your brain the next time something stupid rises to the top of your brain.  Is it really important to bring this up?  Maybe this is something that really isn’t critical.  If it is, what’s the best way to handle it?  Your situation has changed – the way you handle your issues has to change also.  You and your PWP are under incredible stress.  Your Parkie is also likely to be having some trouble cognitively, and may be physically feeling like shit on top of it.  Maybe we all need a new approach to conflict management that takes all these new things into consideration?  Maybe we need some new ideas about how to dump the unimportant crap.  I can’t really help you with how to do that, but I will always champion the idea of therapy.  I’ve been in and out of therapy most of my life, and it can be life-changing.  Use the tools you have.

As always, thanks for listening.  And to my Parkie, I’m sorry.  This is a process, and I am trying to navigate and not doing the best job of handling everything, but I will try and do better.