THE INFAMOUS “Whats in your backpack” speech in Up in the Air
Here’s the full written version:
How much does your life weigh?
Imagine for a second that you’re carrying a backpack.
I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders. Feel them?
I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life.
You start with the little things.
Things on shelves, in the drawers, the knickknacks, collectibles.
Feel the weight it all adds up.
Then you start adding larger stuff.
Clothes, tabletop appliances, lamps, linens, your TV.
The backpack should be getting pretty heavy now.
You go bigger.
Your couch, your bed, your kitchen table, stuff it all in there.
Your car, get it in there.
Your home, whether it’s a studio apartment or a two-bedroom house.
I want you to stuff it all into that backpack.
Now try to walk. It’s kinda hard, isn’t it?
This is what we do to ourselves on a daily basis:
we weigh ourselves down til we can’t even move
and make no mistake; moving is living
Now, I’m gonna set that backpack on fire.
What do you wanna take out of it?
Photos? Photos are for people who can’t remember.
Drink some ginkgo and let the photos burn.
In fact let everything burn and imagine waking up tomorrow with nothing.
It’s kinda exhilarating, isn’t it?
This is how I start everyday of my life.
Now this is gonna be a little difficult, so stay with me.
You have a new backpack.
Now this time, I want you to fill it with people
Start with casual acquaintances, friends of friends, folks around the office.
And then you move into the people you trust with your most intimate secrets.
Your cousins, your aunts, your uncles. Your brothers, your sisters, your parents.
And finally your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend.
Get them into that backpack.
Don’t worry I’m not gonna ask you to light it on fire.
Feel the weight of that bag.
Make no mistake your relationships are the heaviest components in your life.
Feel the straps cutting into your shoulders.
All those negotiations and arguments and secrets, the compromises.
You need to carry all that weight.
Then you set that bag down.
Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically for a lifetime.
Star-crossed lovers, monogamous swans.
We are not those animals.
The slower we move, the faster we die.
We are not swans, We’re sharks.
Time to think.