The Key To Remembering – Focus!

by Mary Jo Shannon

I suppose we all misplace our keys occasionally. Yes, I know the cure – establish a habit, by putting them in the same place each time and you’ll always know where they are. I’m better than I used to be, but sometimes I have something else on my mind and fail to focus on where I put them. And keys aren’t the only victims of my absentmindedness. Books, papers and other things also disappear occasionally.

Often I put something important in a special place so I won’t lose it, and guess what? I fail to click on “save” mentally and where I put it is deleted from my memory. I usually discover it later when I’m looking for something else.  I could accomplish so much more if I had all the time I spend looking for what I’ve misplaced.

Last week I was ready to go to the Y early so I could spend some time in the weight room strengthening these bones so they won’t break if I fall again. Had everything packed in my gym bag, remembered to take my meds after breakfast, told Harry where I was going… Only I couldn’t go, for my keys were not in the bowl on the table where I trained myself to put them.

I knew they were in the house, for I had to use the house key to enter last night, but I checked the car anyway. (I have been known to leave them in the car with the engine running.) I searched the pockets of my jacket, my slacks – no luck.

As I was on my hands and knees looking behind every piece of furniture in case they had dropped and were hidden from sight, I remembered a story I heard when we were on a trip to Norway with a group from Virginia Western. A young woman told us she worked part-time in a little restaurant while she was in college so she could afford to board her horse nearby.

One snowy evening the place was without customers until an elderly priest and a nun entered. She seated them in a booth and the priest said he needed to take a pill before ordering. Unfortunately, he dropped it and was quite disturbed because it was the only nitroglycerin pill he had with him and he was suffering chest pain.

The waitress told him not to worry; she would look for it. Kneeling on the floor, she searched carefully.  She thought she found it but discovered the object she located was only a dried up pea. Looking up at the priest she held out her hand with the pea and said, “I don’t suppose you could take a pea?”

The priest was not amused and neither was her boss. She lost her job for being rude to a customer, and could no longer afford to board her horse..

“Honest,” she said, “I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”

The consequences for my lost keys were not that severe. I didn’t lose a job, but I missed the water aerobics class. I decided to give up the search and use my extra set of keys since I had to get to the church for my afternoon session at the receptionist desk.

I grabbed my purse and guess what? There they were in a side pocket. I had searched the purse before, but failed to check all the compartments. Now I’ll have to retrain myself.