Have you seen my sanity?

Sherri Gardner HowellFarragut, Feature

I just had a birthday. Not a big one, meaning not one that ends in zero or five, but another year older nonetheless.

I usually let these in-between birthdays pass without much reflection or anguish. After a couple of close calls in recent years, I am in the “better than the alternative” category and grateful for another great year.

But … yes, there’s a “but…” there is something about this whole aging process that is driving me crazy.

That could be a long list: bad knees, eyes that can’t decide if I’m near-sighted or far-sighted, having to count years to remember how old my children are, muscles and joints that ache, ears that couldn’t care less about “Yanny” or “Laurel” but wish the tinnitus would stop, etc.  Those things are irritants but within my coping range.

What I am tired of is looking for things.

I mean, really? How is it possible for a college-educated, intelligent, business owner who in a former life kept tabs on employees who numbered in double-digits and managed 10 separate newspaper sections a week spend two hours looking for a camera she just used yesterday?

How can someone who is self-aware enough to know when to say, “no, thank-you” to a job or commitment that will waste my time end up 30 minutes late for a meeting because of misplaced car keys?

What is going on when the search for tracking number on a package won’t ever be found because the package is still sitting in the bedroom, not mailed?

And the cell phone? It’s “lost” more than it’s found. The main conversations my husband and I have these days consist of two things: “Neville, will you dial my phone? I can’t find it.” And, “Neville, have you seen my (fill in the blank)?”

I can remember shaking my head in amazement as my mother searched through purses for reading glasses that were on her head, looked for car keys she left in the ignition and never, ever could find a pen to write down a phone message.

We began “decluttering” our house several years ago, and it’s a good thing. At least there are fewer places to stick things that will forever be lost. We still have two “junk” drawers that are constantly being rummaged for Band-Aids, nails, tape, tiny screwdrivers and matches.

Searching for things really irritates me, especially when I think of myself as a person who puts things “where they should go.” I must change my mind often, however, about just where those perfect places are, because the place I begin my search seldom bears fruit.

I stood in the grocery store recently, deep in thought, with a package of birthday candles in my hand. I bought a package of 24 birthday candles last month and only used three. I know exactly where they should be. What are the chances, I wondered, of going home and, in five minutes or less, finding the birthday candles?

I threw the package in the basket. Avoiding the search is $1.49 well-spent.


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