Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I have been plagued with forgetfulness all my life. It's a source of amusement and irritation to those who love and surround me. It's not such a big flaw that it brings great pain, but I recognize that it's inconvenient and annoying, mostly to me, but sometimes to others. Having gone through a whopping six phones in 4 months - two of which I personally lost - I have to say "this has got to stop!". But first, a little self reflection, a little digging into why this is happening, sprinkled about with some gratitude.

Why is this happening to me? I am a big believer in there being two sides to every character trait. So - let's start with the good news. I am creative, flexible and imaginative. The dark side to these traits provide a little insight into my forgetfulness. Creativity and imagination - often times I will have an idea and will be so internally caught up with and energized by my thoughts that I lose track of the mundane world around me. I have the ability to transport myself into a past or future time and place and imagine plans and details, but not notice that I am at that very moment putting putting my wallet into the same drawer that I just got a nail file from. Flexibility - borne out of my early life experiences in which my family lived around the world, and I went to 14 schools between Kindergarten and 12th grade - also has its darker side. My flexibility allows me to adjust to many situations and settings - I sleep like a baby in an airplane, car or hotel room. This same flexibility means that I don't have that bell clanging in my head when I walk away without a purse on my shoulder - sometimes I carry a purse and other times I don't, same for the phone. So, it may take me hours to even notice that I don't have some key thing (or keys themselves) that was left behind earlier in the day. 

Now for the gratitude. I have lost so many things in so many places and been extremely lucky to have things returned to me unharmed. This too has two sides. On the one hand, I don't crumble with panic when I misplace my wallet, because I've done that so many times and each time it has been returned - I have stories to tell. Once I left it in a public restroom at a mall on Christmas Eve. Several weeks later it was returned in the mail to me, intact, with a note apologizing for not returning it sooner. Versions of that has happened many times in my life. On the other hand - the fact that the Universe has taken such good care of me, makes me less vigilant about keeping track of my stuff. 

What to do? Well, I have some strategies that are helping me be better with this. 

* First, simplify - the fewer things I have to keep track of the better. This means that I carry only what I need to have on me,  and don't bother with things like umbrellas, sunglasses, water bottles, etc. that would be nice to have but that I will probably just leave somewhere. 
* Second, habits - with those all important items that I have trouble keeping up with (keys, wallet, phone) I use the Alzheimers strategies setting up routines to help me. So, I have places for these special items, a bowl in my entry way for keys, a spot in my car door for the wallet, etc. I recognize that arrival and departure times are the most prone to misplacing things, so I try to pay special attention at those times. 
* Third, and the most important, but hardest for me to do is to pay attention! Mindfulness is the real antidote to forgetfulness. Meditation, yoga and relaxation are the keys to mindfulness to me. Giving myself the time I need to just daydream, to make up elaborate plans in my mind, to journal, all these help me be more present and mindful in my daily life which then reduces forgetfulness. 

So next time I ask "Has anyone seen my keys? wallet? purse? phone?" I know that I really need to take some time to take a walk, read a book, daydream or write in my journal. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This must be a rabbit trait - Norm has always been like this too - the cleaners regularly calls and says, "Mrs. Monroe, Mr. Monroe has left his (you chose) credit card, drivers license, etc. in his pocket". He is so lucky. Just this week, the market called and said they had found his debit card in the parking lot. He went and picked it up. You rabbits, you. I like your solutions.