Do You Feel Like Beaker from The Muppets? I Do.
Some might call me frazzled. Others, an overly imaginative soul. They are not wrong. I am chronically afraid I left the burner on, the door unlocked, and lost my phone in the toilet. No, not because I am OCD (have you seen my desk?) but because I actually DO these things on a regular basis.
My daughter, just three and a half, is already trained anytime we leave the house. “Mommy you need me to help you find your phone and your wallet, right? I’m a good finder.”
Frazzled me accidentally “leaves” things in odd places. A purse in the fridge and a phone charger in my sock drawer. My mother tells me absent mindedness is a sign of genius. But I am not so sure. Every time I misplace something I feel awful. The last incident had to do with stationary block print I had purchased on vacation in Montana. When I got home, after frantically searching my unpacked suitcase, I fell into despair after not being able to find it. I asked all my relatives if I had left it behind and if they had found it hiding in a cabin log. I mourned the loss of the cute block print cards and hated myself for being so forgetful. Then, right at the peak of my despair, I found them in my computer bag, nestled in with cords and power adapters. I felt relief but also shame. Why on earth were they THERE?
I’ve tried every trick in the book to change my absent minded ways. I’ve tried memory exercises, meditation, and sticky note reminders. People have purchased me AirTags from Apple, a way to track items from my phone via cute little adhesive tags. Of course, this is not that helpful if you keep changing the things you lose and are chronically misplacing your phone.
My new goal is to learn to live with it. Don’t many people live with other life hindering ailments? Aren’t there bright spots to being frazzled (like a good imagination for hiding places)? Perhaps if we can cope with our frazzled selves, we can lead a normal life.
My strategies for coping:
- I try, with *some* degree of success, to leave my phone charged. This means there are fewer places to look for it (if I am always charging it, then it’s likely left plugged into a wall somewhere). I also back it up regularly, which helps relieve any panic when it’s misplaced.
- I always get ready to leave 5-10 minutes early. Most people know me as uber punctual. That is because I always have extra time reserved for finding my things. I arrive at the destination calm and collected, not frazzled.
- I play a ‘lost items” game with my daughter Vivi. Anytime we lose something we pretend that “the gnomes” got it. We blame many things on the gnomes, those pesky single sock eating mischief makers. Where her bunny stuffy went, my left pink sock, and the electricity bill. It makes us feel much better about ourselves
- I am adapting a new attitude-I do not let myself get attached to things. I’m not a Stoic myself but do like how they adopt an attitude of indifference to help manage feelings of loss. Plus everything is replaceable! (Except my daughter and my French Press coffee maker). I practice non attachment daily, imagining that different items are gone. So then, if I lose an item or the gnomes ate it, I am not distraught because I have already imagined living without it. This practice has actually curbed my spending on Amazon Prime as well. There are very few things I truly cannot live without.
Frazzled me is as absent minded as always. But perhaps my mother is right. Perhaps it is a sign of genius. It definitely is linked to creativity. The more I lose, the more I seem to write. Except when I misplace my laptop….
“The reason I might forget something is because my mind is like a computer. I have so much useless stuff stored up in there, that when I forget to clean out my Mind’s Cache, it has no room for new information. Like wearing pants!”
― James Hauenstein