Don’t call yourself a loser… you say…but what do you call someone who sometimes loses things? I don’t actually think I’m a terrible loser, just a small one. 🙂
I lost my wallet on Tuesday. I lost it somewhere between the Library, and G&S Dye where I was going to buy some silk screening supplies.
First thing I did when I discovered it was to check again, then check again — my pockets, the purse that it was in, I called the Library I went to the Library my car, the area around my car. I looked everywhere, but it was gone.
For those of you who know me, I know that you’re not surprised. I’m one of those people that misplaces things. It is a terrible flaw in me and there is just no covering it up. If I could change one thing thing about myself, I might go for the losing thing – but wait, maybe I’d change my ability to eat lactose. I love cheese but it makes me feel so badly. I hate losing things because it makes me feel badly — hm. tough call between the two…
About ten years ago, after a very bout of me losing many things over the course of a short period of time, I went to a psychologist to find ouf if I had ADHD. It turns out that I don’t, but the tests revealed a personality that is forward-looking with a gift of seeing a bigger picture to things happening in the now. Perhaps I didn’t need a professional to tell me that I didn’t have ADHD. My very observant brother told me this: It’s like you’re already thinking about the next thing before the thing that your doing right now is finished.
My propensity for forgetfulness tends to happen when I am busy, or have a lot to do, or think about. It happens when I am in transition and trying to change things in my life. These days, I try to take it in stride and not let the emotions around losing something flatten me. It is a good weather vane for me to know that I am trying to do too much, not getting enough sleep, or not spending enough time with myself. It is my biggest reminder to generally slow the EFF down. Try to meditate, try to be more methodical, take time for myself, and get better sleep.
Lost, then Found
Here’s happy ending to this story. I got my wallet back. Here’s where I got lucky…
A nice lady named Luz came home from work and walked her dog in the park by the library. She found my wallet on the ground. How it got there, I don’t know. I walked gingerly through the park, to get to the other side of it. Somehow it must’ve fallen out of my purse. Luz came home and looked at the driver’s license, then did a Canada411 search online on my last name and called the number that corresponded to the address.
Quite amazing. I am grateful to her and to anyone who has ever returned something that they found. I met up with her on the streets in between our homes and I gave her a big hug. I also gave her a Christmas card telling her that she “Saved my Christmas!” and I put some money in it. This morning I received a text message from her.
“I open your card this morning and found the $. Thanking me should have been enough. I’ve lost my wallet once and it was also found by someone & returned to me. I knew how it feels. You are very generous! THANK YOU & I AM GLAD YOUR CHRISTMAS HAS BEEN SAVED.”
What a kind lady.
Here’s another quick story that I’d like to share; another kind stranger.
Lost Car Key
Two weeks ago, I lost something that I didn’t even know that I lost. The key for my car. I keep my car key attached to my purse with a biner and a self-retracting key reel, As a strategy for not losing my keys, the key will retract back into the purse.
I parked my car, opened the door, locked the door from inside of it, and then worked a full day at the office. After I finished work 8 hours later, I found this note on my windshield.
It read ” Your key was on the ground beside the driver’s door. I just hid it behind the driver’s front wheel”.
Confused, I pulled out my biner on the retractable key ring and looked at my keys. I didn’t see the car key on the ring. I scratched my head, then bent down and under my car at the salty pavement underneath the front wheel and I found the key tucked right where they said it would be.
When I retreived the key, I noticed that the clip itself had bent so it no longer clasped itself, which mean when I let the retractable key chain do its thing, I ended up dropping the key on the ground and not even noticing it.
I marvelled for a moment at the fact that whoever left me that note could’ve driven that car away right then. I marvelled at how this angel had the thoughfulness to hide the key away from anyone who would steal it.
It is thus with many of these stories that I have come to realize that I am one of the most lucky people in the world. I would estimate that of what I lose, I get my stuff back 97% of the time. I know a couple of other people that have the same condition as me and they aren’t half as successful as I am. In fact, if I count up the things that I know that I’ve lost, but didn’t recover, I can still use one hand to count them. My sister says that I have a Lost and Found Angel that follows me around to help good, smart, people reunite me with my belongings. I believe her.
Whenever I recount my latest lost and found miracle story to her she says… “Geez Amber, Your Lost and Found Angel must be very tired…”
One might argue that because I get my things back most of the time, I have no reason to change, but I disagree. I have spent the equivalent of days and days looking for things. Losing things is a huge waste of time. Believe me, I would change.
Now, because I am always trying to find the silver lining, because I have to live with who I am, I am going to tell you what I have learned.
What I have learned by being someone who loses things
Gratitude and appreciation for the things that I do Have
Whenever I get something new, I tear open the wrapper and enjoy it right away. I am aware of its impermanence, and the happiness that it will bring me now, without delay. You can have all the things that you want in this world but if you’re not going to enjoy them, then what good do they do? If I lose my wallet and am reunited with it I look at it and I am happy that I have it, and once it’s been lost and then found, a wave of appreciation washes over me for a period of time, Whatever you have, use them until you lose them.
Less attachment to things
I love buying stuff. Cool hats, sunglasses, nice scarves and electronics. I used to feel absolutely gutted each time I lost something because I spent money on these things. I have learned to have less attachment to things because I am constantly reminded that they are just things. Even if someone had driven away with my car two weeks ago, I’d have to swallow the fact that it is just a thing. An expensive thing, but a thing nevertheless…
Empathy for other people for their losses
Everybody has lost something at some point. I feel sympatheic for other people when they have lost things. Whenever I find something (a wallet, a scarf, gloves, hats, etc.). I return it right away because, like Luz, above, I know how it feels to lose something and therefore, it makes me more honest. I have found things for other people, and feel happy to contribute to their finding of things, because it feels good to find something.
Faith in Humanity
It often amazes me at how many people in this world are honest people in the societies that I travel within. I only know this because if it weren’t for me losing things, I wouldn’t know just how good people are. Many people live in fear thinking that people are going to steal things from them. I feel that this just creates bad energy and perpetuates badness around them. Perhaps there are a lot of people with bad intentions but this hasn’t been my experience. Not where I live and not where I travel or live, but then again, I am one of the luckiest people that I know.
Self Acceptance and Strategies
Self acceptance comes on a sliding scale and depending on when you catch me in a cycle of lost and found, you will see different reactions in me. For example, I’ve been on a date and have pulled out my keys on that very unattractive rectractable keychain to unlock my car door and have felt completely moritified when I’ve been asked about why I am carrying a janitor’s keychain. At this point I know fully that dreamgirls don’t carry janitor keychains. I have led Habitat for Humanity trips where I’ve tried to cover up the fact that I was a forgetful person (thinking that leaders shouldn’t lose things). Each time I have tried to pretend, I know that the jig is up very quickly, there is no fooling anyone. These days, I’m more accepting of it. Who says that I can’t reach my ideals. Nowaday I use my retractable janitor key chain with pride, and delegate someone on my Habitat for Humanity teams to remember to take a minute to do visual sweep to make sure that everyone has their belongings I have learned to cut down on the negative self talk. I have other gifts. I can say that I am a kind, creative, and spontaneous person with a knack for working things out, I see the best in people, and I try to help in every situation that I am.
Self acceptance comes from the fact that I have greater confidence in myself to adapt to accepting loss. The next task at hand, involves only one of three 3 simple things
A. Finding it.
B. Replacing it.
C. Letting go and living without it.
I’ve been told that I can be good in an emergency situation, and that I don’t panic. I believe that this comes in part from having lost things. Panic never helps to recover things. When something bad happens, even if it is from your own doing, give yourself only a few seconds to freak out, and then do the next thing that will make it better.
Have you lost something?
Don’t worry. I’ve put together a checklist for you all for what to do when you’ve lost something. The next time that you lose something, you know where to come. May you all have the benefit of any of these gains by being a bit of a loser-gainer yourself. 🙂