This is for all of you people who love someone with a bad habit of doing stupid stuff on a daily basis. Like myself.
I lost stuff ALL THE TIME growing up. I actually had a special spot in the lost and found at my high school for my purse because I left it behind in so many classrooms. I have several great stories of wallets full of cash (remember cash?) getting lost and I almost always got them back thanks to lovely Good Samaritans. All of this drove my Dad KRAZEE, obviously. He would get SO ANGRY every time I lost something major and y’all? There was a lot he didn’t know about. I got a pair of Ray Ban Aviators for my birthday one year – and it was like my ONLY birthday present that year and I lost them and I knew my Dad would kill me. So I hoarded lunch money for several weeks, living off packs of crackers, until I could replace them.
And then I lost them again. OF COURSE.
When Dad wasn’t ANGRY at me for this trait, he would comment that it was because I always had too many things swirling around in my brain at any given time. It was rarely important things…I wasn’t pontificating on solving the AIDS crisis or the underlying themes of William Blake’s poetry…I was mostly just thinking about my crushes. Does Brooke think I’m cute? Is Doug going to ask me out? Why does no one agree with my that Pump Up The Volume is the best movie ever? My mind was always moving around from one topic to the next. And that meant anything that wasn’t a “habit” got forgotten. And I had a hard time making anything useful a “habit” up until I graduated from college and got my first 9-5 type job. I got better in college, learning how to use calendars and lists, but I was still bad. I LOST A PROFESSOR’S RESEARCH DATA ONCE AT A CAR WASH. That is not even a joke and it’s still such a traumatic memory I don’t even like talking about it. But once I graduated and got my first 9-5 job, I really started building useful routines and learning the value of lists. I was finally able to structure my life in a way to try to QUIT FORGETTING SHIT.
I’m not perfect, I still forget things, but NOTHING compared age 12 through age 22. I have always relied heaviliy on planners and lists which is why I’m such a bullet journal nut. It helps me keep things NOT part of my “habit” at the forefront of my mind.
But any time my habits and routines get shaken and I can’t make note of it in any way in my bullet journal? I’m screwed. YESTERDAY WAS ONE OF THOSE DAYS.
I do a lot of stuff before I leave the house in the mornings. I’m not a night person so all of the things most people do before bed: Wash dishes, do laundry, pack lunches…I do in the morning. I also blog (Hi!) and check Facebook and pack my running clothes if I’m going to the Y to run. I change the kitty litter and feed the animals. These are all MOSTLY part of my morning routine (which is why I wake up at 3am) so most things don’t get forgotten. On Mondays – I have to take the recycling to the street – which disrupts the habit slightly, but it’s a Monday so it’s in my brain as part of Monday’s routine.
But yesterday there was enough weird stuff going on that my morning got shattered. First? I was going to take my car into be serviced after the Y, on the way to work. This had me having to think about packing up my day and my car differently than usual. And I had to make sure my car was kinda cleaned out just so I wouldn’t be too embarrassed. Then, it was warm, so I didn’t need to warm up my car – which was a weird shift from recently. So as I was packing stuff up everything was just slightly different and that’s when my brain gets frazzled and shit gets lost or forgotten. I NEED MY ROUTINE, or I need my list. And this wasn’t enough of a shakeup to make a list, just enough to frazzle my brain.
SO. I’m making the last trip down to the van and I’m putting things in the bags they need to be in so I can leave some stuff in the van while it’s serviced but take some stuff on the shuttle to work. I get everything organized and I think shit…where are my keys? Did I accidentally pack them in one of the bags? I checked all the bags. Nope. Did I put them on that shelf with the recycling? Nope. I retraced my steps around my van to every door I used, Nope. And here’s the thing: I knew they had to be down there because going to my van with my keys is a HABIT. I would never have walked out of the house without my keys to head to the van because my van is always locked so I always have to push the button to unlock the van. THAT IS A HABIT. My habits save me. My keys HAD to be somewhere around the van or in the van. I TORE THE PLACE UP. I was just laughing maniacally at one point thinking HOW DID I LOSE MY KEYS IN MY VAN?
I was freaking about having to wake up Donnie (we don’t have a spare set due to another long story involving one of my children) to get him to help me find my keys. I was GOING To be early to the Y but I was now LATE and I was panicking. WHERE ARE MY DAMN KEYS?
But I’m 41, I’ve been fighting this trend for a long time so I started thinking again about my habit of getting my keys and going to the van and it hit me: WAIT. It’s Winter. My morning habit is SLIGHTLY different in winter. Usually, my first trip to the van is to warm it up. My LAST trip to the van NEVER REQUIRES KEYS because they keys are already in the van. But yesterday was different, I decided not to warm it up because it was 50 degrees out. So I brought the keys back upstairs with me. But my brain probably didn’t consider that on the LAST trip to the van because my subconscious is out of that habit during the winter when the car is usually already running on the last trip of the morning.
So…I went back upstairs and there they were. Sitting on the kitchen table.
My winter time brain has already built the habit of NOT grabbing the keys on the last trip to the van, so my brain evidently has TWO different routines built into the whole “going to the van” mentality and I didn’t realize it. I thought I was working within the confines of my normal habits by searching for the keys around the van, not even realizing my subconscious brain had already developed a new routine for winter…WE DO NOT NEED THE KEYS ON THE LAST TRIP TO THE VAN.
The hilarious part is that I recently recognized the formation of this new habit because when it first started getting cold, twice I had similar mornings where I was frantically looked for my keys INSIDE when they were in the van already – warming it up. And like a week ago I realized I hadn’t done that in a while so obviously my brain was relearning to consider the fact that the keys were in the van on cold mornings. That’s the only reason why I went back upstairs to look because I had just noticed that it had been a couple weeks since I did that stupid, “OH MY GOD WHERE ARE MY KEYS” thing in the morning, forgetting they were already in the van.
Routines are CRITICAL. And sometimes my brain develops routines I don’t even realize. And when any of the routines are shifted slightly? The Stupid Things Kim Does multiply exponentially.
I know you wish you had a dollar every time we frantically looked for our keys, or our purses, or our children…thank you for loving us anyway.