I am craving chocolate all day. I want it. Bad. I spend the morning debating: Is it worth the 6 Weight Watcher points I will use up on a 3 Musketeers bar? What if I chew some gum? What if I have some more water? In the end, the craving wins. I go to the grocery store on my lunch break, buy my chocolate bar along with a couple of other things, request 20 bucks cash back, take my bags, receipt, and...leave my $20 sitting in the dispenser of the self check-out register. After thoroughly savoring every point of my 3 Musketeers, I happily walk into my office, look for the twenty I was going to use to pay a colleague for something, and realize I forgot to take the cash. I break into a sprint (as if this is going to help) back to the parking lot, and break my shoe. Literally. The whole strap comes off. Now I am hobbling into the grocery store, asking for a manager, flailing my receipt around, swearing off chocolate forever (or at least 3 Musketeers bars). The very patient manager, who takes me into the camera room, plays back all 18 minutes worth of the security video, during which I watch a little old lady use the same self check-out register, insert her cash, and retrieve her change from the dispenser...along with a $20 bonus. I wanted to break into tears.
I call my husband and rant like a lunatic about my chocolate weakness, broken shoe, and forgotten $20, and his response? "Ok. So? It's $20. It happens to everyone. Forget it. Don't turn this into a Thing, Liz. Don't make it more than it is."
That never occurred to me.
Don't make it a thing? But isn't it a thing? I mean, I forgot to take my $20. And last week at work, I scanned an entire section of library books without actually putting them into the database. And let us not forget the forgotten Mother's Day Luncheon...
Ok, so I forgot $20. No big deal. But it kinda is. For me. Lately, I am constantly not paying attention. I am forgetting things. I am dropping the ball. I am living up to my hair color's reputation. I realize that maybe hubby's right: maybe I shouldn't make everything A Thing. Maybe if I could learn to live like that, in a constant state of alert relaxation, then I wouldn't be so forgetful in the first place. But...the point is, I'm not living like that. I don't know how. And even if I did, these patterns I'm "developing" are just not working for me. Although it may not be a big deal to forget things here and there, and although it's so common that people assign it cute little labels like "Mommy Brain," I can't just shrug it off. I have to find a way to Be In The Present. To actually pay attention to how it feels to exist in one singular moment. And I'm not even talking yogic New Age existential stuff (although that would be lovely). I'm talking, quite simply, of being aware enough of the moment I'm living in so that I'm actually just paying frickin' attention. Because a) I don't like forgetting stuff, especially cash and my children's events; and b) what if the Universe is trying to tell me something? What if the next time the thing I'm supposed to be paying attention to really is a big thing?
Years ago, I went to a seminar given by Oprah Winfrey (yes, the real one), and one of the things she talked about was just that: signs from the Universe. Of course she was incredibly more poetic and profound than I, but basically she said that the Universe sends you messages. These messages start out as little whispers. You really have to be paying attention. If you're not, they get louder and louder and eventually the Universe will peg you on the forehead with a big ol' metaphorical rock. So I'm gonna start trying. I'm gonna focus. I'm gonna try and shut my mind off for a little bit here and there (or at least turn the volume down). I am going to pay attention. Because I'm thinking a broken shoe and a lost 20 dollar bill is better than a concussion.