Last weekend when I went home to visit with my parents they made fun of me for walking through their door with a backpack across my shoulders, like I’ve done ever day since middle school. “We thought you’d outgrow it by now!” they told me. It’s funny that they brought it up, because my relentless habit of lugging a backpack around is something that I have been mulling over in my head on my own for a while. Truth be told, I think they touched on an insecurity.
And then, as the universe often somehow manages to pull off, the next day at work I kept seeing the same opinion piece about adults wearing backpacks published in the Philadelphia Inquirer float across my social media timelines. Every comment attached to the article was some variation of either mild annoyance or at least a scoffing reference to “old man yells at cloud.”
I think there’s something to be said for the amazing idea that, push come to shove, most our lives can fit in a single sack that we can carry around with us at all times. I know for me, I never leave the house without my laptop, headphones, and an ereader. Between those three devices I can access and enjoy literally every piece of media in my life. Every picture I’ve ever taken of my family and friends, my entire bookshelf, my movie library, all my music, all my electronic games — everything is always with me. It’s incredibly convenient to be able to have pretty much all your stuff with you at all times.
I must admit thinking to myself that carrying a backpack around doesn’t feel particularly adult-y, though. I wonder if deep down the teachers and students whose computers I’m responsible for fixing each day in my “real job” are judging me for it. But what are the alternatives? A brief case? No way— way too serious and stuffy. I can’t pull it off. That really would earn me a one-way ticket to “amateursville.” I mean,, who would I be kidding? I suppose I could graduate to a messenger bag, but I’m not convinced they’re much of an improvement, and I know that ergonomically they put more stress on your shoulders and back.
Plus, I finally found a backpack that I really like. It is perfect for my needs and I’ve carried it every day for years now.
So for me, the convenience of a backpack outweighs the fashion faux pas and the perceived immaturity the older generations seem to place on it. I don’t see me giving it up any time soon. I do agree with the author’s point about etiquette — if you’re wearing a backpack in a big crowd, just take the darn thing off and carry it in front of you so it’s in your immediate space. Aside from that, just embrace and love the backpack.