Knowing What’s Lost, and How to Find It

I lose everything important to me at least once. If I’m lucky, it’s only once a month.

My phone gets lost at least once a day, and my boyfriend  loves to tease me about the fact that I can’t find it moments after I set it down.

It’s always funnier in retrospect. I maintain that he loses his phone often too, but I will admit, he looks a lot less pathetic about it than I do.

When makeup disappears from its spot below the bathroom mirror, I don’t even know where to begin looking for it. Ask someone else, and all they have to contribute is, “What do you mean it’s not there? That’s where you left it, right?”

That’s like telling explores seeking Shangri-La, “well, all I know for sure is that it’s not in Cleveland.” What am I supposed to do with that? I don’t care if you didn’t move it. Just help me look!

When I was younger, I would lose my glasses or sunglasses and panic to find them, only to realize that they were sitting perched on my head or, worse yet, right on my face. That seems like it should be impossible for people with imperfect vision, but hey, I was young, and apparently I was freaking out too much to notice my own strangely clear eyesight.

Everything tends to blur a little bit when it feels like your world is falling apart. I couldn’t find my purse one early morning before work, and I began crying quietly about being late and not being able to find it, torn between waking my roommates to help me look for it and leaving without it, hoping I would neither get pulled over nor need to buy something that day.  I did eventually wake someone up and find it, feeling extremely embarrassed during the entire drive to work because I know it wasn’t really worth freaking out over. Even when someone tells you it’s fine, it’s not so much that I hate to inconvenience someone else (which I do) as that it gives them the impression that a) I don’t have my life together, and b) that when that happens, I fall apart instantly.

In reality, they just saw me on a bad day. I was tired, stressed, and “absolutely sure I had put it down here just last night, and damn it, I can’t be late for work because of this stupid, cumbersome thing that’s always messy anyways and-”

“Yeah, sure. Whatever.”

Trying to save face, or indeed keep face together, in everyone’s eyes is an impossibly elusive endeavor, but I still can’t help but feel embarrassed, even when it’s a total stranger who I’ll probably never see again.

My life now is hardly what I imagined it to be even 5 years ago, but I don’t see myself as one who falls apart super easily anymore. There are times when it’s appropriate for emotions to be more subdued, but trying to bottle them up indefinitely or, as in my case sometimes, letting them go off like a runaway train that jumped the rails is where people tend to run into problems.  Nowadays, I find it easier to judge situations. Did I overreact, and/or was there some justification for it?

Some days, I can face unpleasant realities with a plastered-on smile and a ready retort, and other days, not so much, but I don’t feel so different in that regard from any other person on this planet. I just happen to be a more emotionally driven person than some. It doesn’t always work out socially in my favor, but on the other hand, I experience intense feelings that some other people might not feel even once in their whole lives.

Some days, that idea is comforting; some days, it rings hollow and too fluffy to be realistic in any way. Other days, it’s just as intangible as my missing glasses.

A sense of confidence is sometimes elusive; confidence in the choices you have made, in what has led you to this very moment. That is then affected by a sometimes equally elusive sense of security, optimism, financial stability, self-love, love from others, etc. Whatever you feel you are missing in life can leak into other aspects of happiness and contentment. For example, I can take steps to alleviate my forgetful tendencies, but on some level, I will always be that person. You know, the one who takes forever to realize that her wallet is just a quick glance down and to the right, easily within sight and reach.

I wish it wasn’t, but the skill of “finding everything you ever set down somewhere right when you need it” will always be hard to achieve, and on some level, I need to be okay with that. Other people might not be, but that’s when you try to make them laugh instead.

The trick in life is to improve yourself, but not get ridiculously hung up on what you cannot change. Elusivity should be a challenge, a motivator to keep you moving forward, not something that makes you stop, look back, and ultimately give up. To truly know yourself is to tweak what you can and find peace with everything else. For me, that means accepting a few chuckles now and again, and even laughing at myself when my stuff goes a similar way to Schrödinger’s cat; missing, but at the same time not.

Only when I slow down, calm down, and retrace my remembered steps is whatever I lost then typically found.

 

Written for the daily prompt: Elusive.

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