It was a question that I've heard so many times, I answered with my gut reaction and I went through the rest of my normal mental checklist as I prepared for what was ahead. But then as I got past the automated muscle memory defaults of the day, I reconsidered the depth of the question.
The context for the question was in reference to what I planned to do with my luggage for my next flight. The unintended depth of the question was revealed the more I pondered it that morning at Gate 43. My immediate answer, almost with a speed and tone of voice that says, "the fact that you have to ask me must me you don't know me or see what I am about, of course I am going to carry on, I basically travel for a living and would never waste a second waiting at a baggage carousel."
But then I thought back to a recent meeting with an entrepreneur who was at a crossroads and I effectively asked them the same question, "Are you going to carry on?" Their reaction was as quick and carried the tone of personal offense just like mine did about my suitcase situation. But in both cases, after the knee jerk reaction subsided, the real question was still there to be explored.
Are you going to carry on and keep the responsibility of everything that you have brought with you to this point?
Are you going to carry on and commit to constantly leaving things behind that are not necessary for the journey ahead?
Are you going to carry one and give up having the comfort of all of your options available to you?
Are you going to carry on and deal with whatever unexpectedly happens with only what you have with you?
Are you going to carry on and carry your baggage up and and down every accent and decline between here and your destination?
Are you going to carry on and know that you are the only one in control of what you have with you and how far you take it?
The more I thought about it, the more I thought about friends and family members who decided to not carry on and check it through, giving up control of their things and trusting the system would eventually deliver them to the right place in the future. I thought of their care free approach to walking through the terminal and boarding the plane with minimal concerns. But I also thought of when the system didn't work the way it was supposed to, when their faith that the things they needed to enjoy the next leg of the journey got rerouted or delayed and they were at the mercy of bureaucracy and waiting for institutionalized representatives without any real investment in their happiness or success to deliver the things they needed and expected would be waiting for them.
To each their own, but at a certain point we all must answer the question, "Are you going to carry on?"