Have you ever had a period of time where all you did was lose and forget everything? Being absent-minded is tough. For the past four months, I've been wondering whether I'm in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease or something of that nature. It makes me worried. Wait, what was I saying again?
Just the other day, I brought my tennis bag to work so I could go directly to the club and meet a client. When I opened the bag in the locker room, there were no shorts, only sweat pants. Not ideal in this mini-70 degree heat wave we're having, but doable. As I rummaged through my bag further, I discovered I had no shoes either! No wonder why my bag was so light, I thought to myself in retrospect.
Walking out of the locker room and to the front desk, I asked Peter whether they had any demo shoes or left-overs. Unfortunately there were none, and as I waited for Peter to feign a thorough search, I could see my client stretching on the court waiting for me. Drat, no time to go home and fetch. Instead, I ponied up $90 bucks and bought a brand new pair of tennis shoes right there, even though I literally have five pairs at home!
Fixing Our Absent-Minded And Forgetful Selves
The best way to fix our absent-minded and forgetful selves is to slow down and be more mindful.
The worst part about this story is that it's not the first time this has happened. In my rush to get out the door and catch the bus another morning last year, I also ended up at a different club to meet a client with no tennis shoes. That adventure cost me $130, because all they had were the latest and greatest Nike Air Court Ballistics endorsed by Rafael Nadal! What a burn.
Over the past four months, I've lost my sunglasses ($200), wallet (pain in the ass), flip flops ($65), keys (they are somewhere in the house), and bought new $90 shoes all because I was in a rush. Furthermore, because I was pressed for time getting to a meeting, I backed out of my house too quickly and crunched my passenger side mirror to bits. That was a nice $145 bill. It's so frustrating, and losing and breaking things is partly the reason why I want to be a minimalist. If I have nothing, I can't lose or break anything!
Slow Down, Slow Down Cowboy
Every single lost item and extraneous expense is due to being in a rush. I failed to pack for my vacation the night before. This caused me to jolt out the door at 7:00am once the taxi cab arrived and in the process, I misplaced my keys. I didn't zip up my tennis bag after changing. As a result, my wallet fell out. I didn't pack my bag with shoes because I've done it countless times before and just assumed I did so. I wasn't about to miss my intermittent bus, and ended up paying $90 as a result.
It's a real bummer not being able to drive to work like I did for 7 years, three years ago. I could just chuck everything in the trunk and never have to worry. Having a car was like having a traveling locker room! Three years ago, we were stripped of our free $400/month parking and I refused to pay to continue. Well boo hoo.
I've just got to learn to adapt and live with my choices. But, you got to admit, $400 a month for parking is ridiculous. Now that I think about it, maybe here's some reason to rejoice. The $4,080 I save a year ($4,800 minus $720 for yearly bus pas) from not paying for parking makes up for all these things I'm losing.
Maybe I Don't Care As Much About Money Anymore
I'm losing everything because I'm careless and not being mindful about my things. It's not a good feeling always being in a rush. Since everything is logical, perhaps the reason why I'm losing things left and right is because I simply don't care as much about my money anymore?
Savings and investments are automated, and there's nothing really left to do if I'm operating within the confines of my monthly budget. I don't really mind wasting $90-$130 on shoes and $200 on sunglasses for if I did, I wouldn't lose them!
Seriously, if I worked for only $9 an hour, it would take 25 hours of work to be able to buy those $200 sunglasses I lost. If I had to save for 6 months to be able to comfortably afford a new pair of shoes, there's no way I would ever forget them.
Those polarized Maui Jim's shades cost a lot of money. What the hell. Oh well, I just bought another pair after I lost my Ray Ban Aviators ($160) last year. Crap, I'm sensing a pattern that is going deeper than just this past quarter!
Downside To Having Enough Money
Having too much disposable income as a reason for losing things and buying things doesn't seem right and I'm going to take a step back a little. I needed to buy the tennis shoes because the client was already waiting for me. I wasn't about to tell him to wait 30 minutes as I go home and get my gear.
Besides, tennis shoes wear out in 3-4 months for me. I'll eventually need a new pair anyway. It's just a burn to spend money at a time I don't need to because of carelessness.
As for losing the other stuff, it grates me because I hate wasting money. But, I guess I don't hate wasting money as much as not being mindful and the annoyance of spending an extra minute running through my things to make sure everything is there.
What I Plan To Do From Now On
From now on, to fix my absent-minded self, I'm going to do several things. Perhaps you should too if you have a propensity to forget and lose things.
1) Physically write out checklists of the three most common things you do. In my case, I will write a checklist for my tennis bag, work bag, and vacation bag i.e. Tennis bag check list: rackets, shoes, shades, shorts, t-shirt, ankle braces, socks, grip, elbow sleeve, hat, make sure all zippers are closed after each change.
2) Before rushing out the door to anywhere, catch yourself and go through the checklist for one minute before leaving. Spending a minute could save you hours of painful looking or replacing, such as going to the DMV to get your driver's licensed replaced.
3) Mark one or two places where you will always set your things down. Keys, wallet, and cellphone should all be placed on a specific table every time you come home. Once you condition yourself, you'll see yourself misplacing less things.
4) Appreciate your money and pretend that you are a starving student who makes an under minimum wage $3 bucks an hour (my own wage when I was in HS). At $3 an hour, I'd have to work 70 hours to afford them shades I lost!
5) Slowdown in general. If you are like me and believe 5 minutes early means on time, you've got to just plan better and wake up that much earlier.
Surely, these five things will help me be less absent-minded. Further, doing a pre-mortem on things is important too.
Take Back Control
I feel like I'm an overloaded truck, driving 75 miles per hour down a windy road with just a loosely bound net covering all the cargo. Things inevitably get jostled around and break, and sometimes cargo just falls out. From now on, I'm going to slow down, lighten the load, and tighten the tarp. I'll get to where I'm going eventually.
Readers, ever go through a period of losing and forgetting things? Are you absent-minded? Wallet, keys, sunglasses… they have to be the most common things to lose right? Wouldn't you pay $100 for a pair of tennis shoes if your client was waiting on the court instead of make him wait 30 minutes or cancel?
Note: The picture is of my new shoes I had to buy, accompanied with a book I'm supposed to review about negotiations. Thought it was a nice play on words. Updated for 2016 and beyond.
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