Mar 25th, 2020, 03:33 PM

Corona Diaries: T-Minus 36 Hours

By Maddi Carpenter-Crawford
A backpack meant for hiking is loaded to the brim
One of my three checked bags back home
One AUP student reflects on packing up her life in a day.

Dear Corona Diaries,

Packing up your life in 36 hours teaches you a little something about what's replaceable. I already had six months of a life plastered all over that apartment. Six months of living independently for the first time, six months of a whole new support group and routine, six months in a city where the world was in reach. How does one sift through all of that, picking what to hold on to and what to pass on in little more than a day?

At first it didn't feel real, and actually it did all the way through. There was the feeling of curating for some other person with exactly my life. I guess that made it easier. A little less sentimental. Maybe it was a defense. A ticking clock and a limited number of bags is a worthy opponent, though. I only had one large suitcase and two carry-on sizes that I could check home, into which I stuffed as much of the hobby gear, books, and mementos as I could on top of the essentials.

It would be interesting to know what got discarded in all of this, but the strangest part is I already don't remember a lot of it. That says a lot about our tendency to collect "stuff." I think when we have all the time and space in the world, we tend to evaluate things on the basis of sentimentality. I have often heard myself say "I don't really use that, but it was a gift!" or "I use that at such-and-such a time each year." 

A crunch like this forces one to own up to those feelings honestly, from a perspective of "How would my life actually differ without that?" Perhaps in this hyper-consumerist world we should be asking that question more often. Perhaps more of us need a crunch. I wonder, what would you keep if you had 36 hours and a bag?

- Maddi