Look again

My daughter recently had a new friend over to the house. As we were about to take her home, she could not find her phone. She got increasingly upset as we looked all around. I said, "Okay, let's take a deep breath. I know you checked before, but please look in your purse one more time."

"Oh, there it is."

I don't share this anecdote to poke fun at a sixth grader. I find adults do this all the time. When we don't immediately find something in the place we expect it to be, we start frantically checking a bunch of places it's very unlikely to be, getting increasingly upset. And then eventually we check that first place again and find it, only to feel a mixture of relief and embarrassment that it was where it was supposed to be - or some other really logical place - all along.

Just last week I told my husband we needed to get the title of our car so we could hand it over with our trade-in. I looked in a few spots it was likely to be in our office. Mike looked in our safe, which also seemed like a really logical place. We couldn't find it in any of these places and started checking less likely places, getting a bit flustered. I needed to leave for my haircut appointment, so I left him in charge of the search. A few minutes later, I got a text. "Got it! It was in the safe just folded up in a nondescript paper." Oops. Had I just remembered my own advice to take a deep breath and carefully re-look in the place(s) where it most logically would be, we could have kept our blood pressures lower.

Need to find something? It's probably where it should be. But this idea of looking again is not just for lost items. It can be helpful not just for objects but when other situations don't quite add up.

Last week I was balancing our bank account. I was surprised to see that Target had only withdrawn $54.41 toward our $244.23 balance. What was going on? We are on automatic withdrawals of the full balance. Why would they do this? I felt myself start to get frustrated so I called customer service. Moments later, the friendly call center rep was explaining our balance last month was only $54.41. This month's bill is the $244.23 one. Well, that makes sense. If I had just looked again at the statements, I would have seen that. If I had taken a breath and stepped back for a moment, I would have told myself, "I've had a Target card since 2011 and have never had this problem. And if there's going to be an error, it's probably going to be a human one (me) and not a computer one."

Thankfully the mindfulness practice I've been working on kept me from getting too out of sorts in each of these situations. I'm learning. I just need to remember to take a breath. Then look again.

Photo by Skitterphoto

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