A thought experiment, if you would. Your house is burning. What do you take with you? Let’s assume for the sake of discussion:
- You wake up in your bed and realize there’s a fire you can’t put out; you need to get out.
- You have a safe exit, but not for long.
- You have some kind of small bag handy, like a backpack or a pillowcase, that you can throw stuff into.
- You can only make one trip. Once you’re out, you’re out; no going back in for more.
What do you grab? Some people would try to grab a typewriter, a guitar and some boxes; others think they’ll have time to shuffle a vintage table-style record player out the door; and still others think all they need is their wedding ring and some smokes. I’m not sure these people quite grasp the concept of your house is burning down you need to get out now or you’ll die of being on FIRE.
So my question is: what would you take?
My list is a bit more spartan and probably a lot more practical. I don’t have any children or pets, so it’s just me and some stuff. I’ve put a bit of thought into this over the last year or so:
- Jeans. Into the pockets go, in order (all swiped from the stand next to my bed):
- Wallet (ID, debit/credit cards, some cash) – I’m going to need these all very shortly.
- Phone – while a physical device can be replaced, and all my data is backed up, I’m going to need to contact people and I don’t have the organic memory to store all their information.
- Keys – let’s assume my car isn’t parked in my living room; I’ll be wanting to use it.
- Laptop, thrown into its bag – as with the phone, a device can be replaced, but my laptop is easily the most valuable and personal object I own, so it’s coming with if I’ve got the five seconds it takes to grab it.
- A shirt and a pair of shoes – I may not have time to put them on, but they’ll be important once I’m out.
- Glasses and contact lenses (in their cases) – if I’m not wearing one or the other already, I’ll need them shortly. I can see without them well enough to get out of the house, though.
- On my way out, try to roll my bike out the door with me.
That’s really it. Everything else, while it will be hard to lose, can burn. I’m not going to risk my life trying to save my TV, or try to box up all my DVDs, or carry a chair out. Important documents like my insurance policies, etc, are stored in an offsite safe and backed up digitally elsewhere; insurance will cover the lost belongings.
So what would you take with you?
What are your priorities when faced with losing everything? It’s good to take a step back sometimes and evaluate your life, what you’ve surrounded yourself with, and what you could (or couldn’t) bear to lose if it came down to it.