About two weeks into winter break, my mom and I took a trip to Nordstrom Rack—she wanted a new pair of boots, and I just needed to get out of the house. While she perused the shoe isles, I took a gander at the clearance rack. After sorting through some defected handbags and shockingly vibrant scarves, I found the backpack to which this Bridge project is dedicated. After buying it, I used the bag for my daily gym/work routine, large enough to only house the essentials. The bag’s black textile and simple, square shape fit in well with my aesthetic, and—after purchasing the bag—I also discover its brand is quite popular. There’s really nothing special about the backpack, but it’s reliable and gets the job done. The one gripe I have with it is the length of its straps, but that’s a problem solved easily by carrying it by one shoulder.
I thought deeply about what theme I could possibly incorporate into a backpack, and to be honest, my first ideas came from thoughts that had waxed too philosophical. I took a break, then started to imagine the implications backpacks have had through my childhood till today—the recurring theme I settled on was the idea of over packing. I’ve always been the person who packs twelve outfits when he only needs three, or who stuffs a book I haven’t touched for months in my carry-on just in case I get the urge to read it. My anxiety with the mere idea of not having access to something I might want creates literal baggage in my life. I found some ways to circumvent this urge—like buying my small backpack, for example—but this pattern permeates far beyond my physical belongings. Most recently, the biggest area I overpack is on my phone. Apps I might need one day remain unused for months, but I keep them just in case a situation comes up where they may be useful. Photos I have no intention of sharing, posting, or printing stack up on my camera roll like digital garbage. I still don’t know how to go about solving this problem or the depths of its unhealthiness, but perhaps I take the same approach I took to my backpack and buy a phone with less storage.