CHAPTER 2Unpacking Your Bags

In the film, Up in the Air, the George Clooney character, Ryan Bingham, leads a self-help seminar in which he asks participants to ask themselves the question, “How much does your life weigh?”

He asks them to imagine they are carrying a backpack stuffed with all the stuff they have in their lives. First, the little things — the knick-knacks — and then the bigger stuff, like couches, cars, and home. Afterwards he has his audience move on to the people in their lives — siblings, parents, spouses. All of these go into the imaginary backpack, and Bingham urges participants to feel the weight of this bag and notice how this burden slows them down. He argues that moving is living, and the slower we move, the faster we die. ...

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