Something Lost, More Found

Hi Readers, I am sorry for the long time between posts.   I am happy to be back here blogging again!

My family and I were lucky enough to be able to go to Florida last week for March Break.   We had a really lovely holiday; lots of good “family of five” time as well as fun times with grandparents and a great aunt and great uncle.   We arrived quite exhausted and left much more relaxed.   It was a very successful holiday for us.  The travelling home was smooth and seemingly without incident, just the way we like it.  We arrived home at about midnight so we were all tired the next day and school attendance was a bit erratic.   But it was all good….Until I went to check my todo list on my iPad and found it wasn’t in my bag.   Panic set in! I ran around the house in a crazed way looking for it.  My amygdala (the primitive “fight or flight” part of my brain) was in control as I feared the worst:  someone would turn it on, see that there was no security passcode and start reading my endless notes, my addresses, some of my passcodes (nothing financial, but still) and take advantage of this information in some way.   I felt sick with fear.  Over and over and over, I went through my actions during the trip to try to figure out where I had lost it.  I felt so vulnerable and there was a sense of violation and loss of control.  On this blog I have written about wanting to be vulnerable, since it is a powerful way of connecting with people and it feels good to me; however, this level of vulnerability was too high and not voluntarily and it felt awful.    I am writing this post now to reflect on the experience and learn from it and share that learning with so you can apply it where you deem it’s helpful.  I am also writing it to share my gratitude to the anonymous, honest person who made it possible for my ipad to be returned to me within 36 hours of my losing it.   (I know this story is of a “first world, champagne-type problem”, don’t get me wrong.  I am sharing it because it did have such a powerful effect on me and I am curious about my reactions and what we can learn from them, especially with respect to being resilient in adversity.)

I admit I really hate losing things and I have developed many systems to ensure that I don’t lose things. In fact, I generally pride myself on being pretty careful and vigilent about this, about valuing and caring for the things that I possess.   So, losing such an expensive item containing information that I value and is personal hit me hard on a number of levels.   I couldn’t help but think about my reaction if one of my children had lost their iPad.   I would likely consider them irresponsible and not deserving of having one.   Hmmm.  Food for thought.

I scrambled throughout the day to change passcodes, and true to form, did not do a good job of it because I was too panicky.  I know that when I am panicky I do not handle technical matters well.   Does this happen to you too?  So, at a certain level, this activity helped give me more of a sense of control over the situation, but also frustrated me as I made mistakes.   I was trying to take action, rather than just worry (see my earlier post, Do You Have a Worry Cup or a Cup of Concern?“)

I had no coaching work planned for this first day home; just getting settled again after being away is enough for me.  I generally find I am a bit disoriented after being away and need time to get everything in the house running smoothly again before I can concentrate on work.  So, soon after I discovered the loss,  I went for a run to try to clear my mind; this helped a little, but because I was really tired already, it wasn’t as effective as I had hoped.   I scrambled around with more passcode work.  Grocery shopping with my older son who was still on holiday helped; I actually enjoy grocery shopping and thinking about yummy healthy meals to prepare for us.   Then later in the afternoon once the kids were home from school, I decided to make homemade granola, for my husband mostly as he had been bugging me to make some, but I love it too as a snack with yogurt on it.  I love the goodness of it and the smell of it as it is baking.  The whole house smells delicious.    This was something I could do that I could control and that would be a concrete accomplishment for the day and also a gift to Andrew and to me.    It gave me a mental break from my panic state and helped me feel some positive emotions.  I was managing my energy, taking breaks from the stressful situation.  And, this time I didn’t burn the granola, which was a bonus.

That night, I had a feeling I would have a hard time sleeping.  I tried some of my tricks to ensure a good night’s sleep (see my earlier post “Ah, Sweet Slumber, What’s Your Favourite Bedtime Routine?” blog post).  I also wrote in my new online journal at my Journal Engine site, about “What Went Well, and Why, Today”.  This is a very powerful daily ritual backed by research in positive psychology. For more information, join my site and try it out! I would love to see you there.)  However despite these measures, as I feared, I woke up around 3 am and instantly thought about the issue.   Then when I grew tired of ruminating on that, I moved on to other hot buttons….then when I returned to the iPad loss, I tried something new.  I tried visualizing that I just let it go, float off into space.  I also tried to imagine the person who had it, who was enjoying using it and had erased everything I had on it because what they wanted to do with it was much more interesting to them.  Both of these visualizations helped a lot.   I felt more peaceful with the situation.   No blame.   I actually went back to sleep, which was surprising to me since I have often stayed awake.   In the morning, I felt better.  Still upset but better and I knew I was bouncing back, being “resilient” (another positive psychology term).   I performed my usual morning tasks and after returning from taking my daughter to the bus stop, I received an email message that my iPad had been found!  I couldn’t believe that I would be so lucky!  It is not that I don’t have faith in humanity and the general goodness and honesty of people, but an iPad is such an easy, tempting thing for someone to keep.    I guess someone, likely a member of the cleaning crew at Air Canada, found my iPad and turned it in to the company’s lost and found office.  They matched it with my lost item report and within 36 hours of landing I had it back.  My kind husband went to the airport to pick it up for me (he likes to drive :)).  He noted that there was many iPads at the lost and found office, waiting to be claimed.  (I should add, that this is not the first time we have lost something travelling home from holidays.   A few years ago, we left my carry on bag, with camera and other valuables right beside the baggage claim area.  We actually reminisced about this as we were waiting for our bags this week, not yet knowing of my loss.  When my husband returned the next day to look for our bag, it was exactly where we had left it.   Wow, that was lucky too.)  So, thank you to the kind and honest stranger who found my lost iPad and took steps to return it to me.  I really appreciate it and will do “good turns” for others in gratitude.

  Lessons learned:
– put a passcode on my iPad. I have one on my phone but didn’t bother wtih my iPad.  It would have saved me a lot of worry and is worth the extra few seconds to get into it.
– pack my carry on bag more lightly.   I always over pack it.  My family teases me about it all the time.  I like to be prepared for many eventualities and enjoy looking forward to all the “free time” I will have on the plane and have so many plans for the things I want to do with that time, books to read, games to play, etc.   But really, I could be content with much less in my bag.  (Hmm, I think there is a metaphor here to play with at some point….)
-use a carry on bag with a zipper closure.   I was using a big tote bag and the ipad must have fallen out when I shoved it under the seat.  I am thinking of going back to my trusty MEC backpack, not as fashionable, I know but oh so functional.
– continue to manage my energy to become more resilient so when greater adversity comes, as it surely will, I will be capable of  handling it and bounce back, with “more found”.

Does this story resonate with you?  What did you learn from it?  I would love to hear from you, as always.

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