Carrying less

Perhaps all the dental work has led to the jaw pain. Or maybe it’s simply bad posture and lack of upper body strength.

Whatever the actual reason, I look forward to travel, but I do not look forward to the carrying bags part. For the past few trips, I have had pain following trip in my shoulders and back. Usually it last for a week or so and subsides.

Even walking around the city and even with all the buckles tightly bound to my body, I can feel after 100 feet that my shoulders are sinking and fear sets in. Will I be struggling with pain? Will I constantly rub my shoulders and neck? Will I be unable to do the things that I want to do?

There’s an impending fear that has increased the last year as I worked in healthcare. I invite participants to tell me their stories of their lives and their motivations. They always start with the fact that they’re healthy. “Healthy,” they repeat. “I don’t want people to think that I am sick.”

It’s so ingrained in everyone. Because being sick means weak. Being weak means helpless, useless. Incompetent. Shameful. Bad.

But then they bounce right up and say, “I am fine now. No big deal.”

Some struggle to push themselves up to walk. They can’t run. They can’t see clearly. But they will make it from the room to the front door with cash in hand. But they’re alive and very human.

I am afraid of being like that. And so any quiver of my body failing at me even though it’s highly unlikely at my age, I wonder and start wondering and worrying. How can I be like that?

So to relieve any pain, I walk without a bag. My body cannot be betraying me.

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