The good with the bad
December 1, 2015
The past month or so I’ve been particularly distracted. Which is terrifying considering I already exist in a perpetual state of total distraction. The "normal" me often puts the ice cream in the fridge, leaves toast in the toaster for days, sits down to type an email and can’t remember who I needed to write or what I needed to say, and runs upstairs in a panic, only to forget why as soon as I hit the top step.
But the last month I’ve kicked it into high gear for some reason. Even by my standards, I’ve really lacked focus. I had an appointment for my dog, Stanley, to get a vaccination. I pulled into the parking lot at the vet’s office, and realized I’d accidentally left the dog at home. I met my family in Maui last week and rented a car while there, which I almost drove into the ocean. The only thing that prevented me from launching the car and my passengers into the Pacific was the giant boulder I drove into. I simply didn’t see a rock the size of a Volkswagen in front of me. It didn’t get any better when I got home. I met some friends to ski and left my ski boots at my house. I had to go back and get them. And I filled the car with gas and drove away with the gas pump still in the tank.
Right now, I don’t trust myself with small children or sharp objects.
But the worst of my forgetful/distracted/unfocused list of blunders has got to be that I actually forgot it was Thanksgiving last week. In my defense, I’d had a pretty rough month. I didn’t sleep much and essentially had another fulltime job as a doggie hospice nurse. My old dog Boston required a lot of care toward the end of his life. Work had been extra stressful. I had a number of deadlines for freelance jobs. I had friends in town visiting. It was just a hectic, and often times sad, month. So last Wednesday when a friend asked me what I was doing for Thanksgiving, I shrugged and said I hadn’t made plans yet.
She replied, "Um, Thanksgiving is in like 12 hours. Don’t you think you should get on that?"
I had convinced myself it was the following week, as in this week, and thought I had plenty of time to get sorted. But I’d had too many monkeys chattering in my head to look at a calendar and confirm the date. Luckily, she had an extra seat at her table and invited me.
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Despite being completely oblivious to pretty much everything the last month, I couldn’t help but pay attention to a life lesson that seemed to be forcing itself on me. It probably had been for some time, and like so many other things, I just hadn’t noticed. But the last couple weeks it was like the universe shouted at me to wake up and pay attention to the constant ebb and flow of life.
My dog died, but hours later I was able to get on a plane and join my family in Maui. I wrecked my rental car, but later learned my credit card would pay for my deductible. It poured rain one day, confining us all indoors. But I got all my Christmas shopping done. I spent too much money on gifts, but I found a $100 bill on the ground at the mall. And for a bonus, I got upgraded to first class on the flight home.
I suppose the lesson is: we can dwell on the bad, or we can look for the good that seems to always counterbalance it. It just depends on where you choose to focus.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident, and the proud owner of a rescued Dalmatian named Stanley.