Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Finding the Key...

When I was a child, my mother , Marjorie was a chronic key loser. The episodes would result in spastic fits of shaking her purse and frantically searching the contents, which generally resulted in nothing. A trip backtracking in her mind and retracing her steps generally lead her  to the purse, where, if she could muster a calmer search, she'd find the keys.

I vowed with my first set of dorm keys, never to be a key loser. I wore shorts with pockets and when I grew older, carried a purse. As an adult, I refined my system to include a keychain with a carabiner to hook the keys either on the purse or my person. When I walk into my house, the keys go into a bowl on an antique chest in the entryway.

Like all systems when you include the human element , they inveitably fail. I've had many failures with my keys, but generally a calm search and journey through my head, would result in the keys. That is until a few months ago.

I was calm. I searched. I knew they had  to be in the house. I looked in the bowl, searched all my purses, pockets and weird crannys my right hand will land on without my thinking. (Hey it's worked in the past-- just walk in the door without thinking, retrace your steps with careful attention to where your right hand lands-- bingo!) So why couldn't I find the keys? (These keys had something special on them, too. The only original to the front door--I had one duplicate, but attempts to make dupes of the dupe, wouldn't open the door. An attempt to get dupes of the orginal in November, resulted in some backwards keys.)

After two months of using the spare set, it was time for drastic action. Sort through every closet. Spring cleaning in January? Well, it had been a warm winter. This is something I often do-- turn a bad situation into a good one, by accomplishing a large task while in the process of finding something lost. Perhaps because of my confidence in the fact that I knew  the keys were in the house, I slipped into a bad habit, and procrastinated the cleaning party. I was, after all in the middle of booking season and the final stretches of training for a 100 mile race.

Then something terrible happened-- I found the keys in a coat in my car. The house was still a mess.

Of course, I was elated to find the keys, but was disappointed in myself for just letting life happen to me on something important like my keys. Even if they weren't in the house-- I am a better person than that. I turn bad situations into good ones. Had I sorted through the house, I would have had a deliriously tidy home and would have known the keys were not in the house.

Here are my thoughts on this situation:
What if it wasn't a set of keys you were looking for? Perhaps it was love, friendship or a job.

1. We often think we know  where something is and struggle herorically to find it. It may result in a wonderful personal journey and growth-- even though we can't  ever find it because we simply aren't looking in the right place.

2. If we find  something (physical or emotional ) without the strong and cleansing personal journey and bring it back into the mess, chances of losing it again are pretty high. 3. (from my mother) If you look frantically, you won't find what you're looking for, even if you're in the right place.

With this in mind, I put the keys in their bowl on the antique chest inside the door and started sorting through the closets and piles of paper that had accumulated over the 3 months. And I made an even firmer committment to my personal rules and standards.

Another observation of myself (who I am genuinely amused by at times...) You can't control loss. It happens. It hurts, and often it's permanent. All you really can control is the journey and being ready when something great finds you from an unexpected place.