Lose Things, Not Yourself

Though losing things is a normal occurrence, repeatedly losing items can have an emotional toll on us. We shouldn’t put heavy mental consequences on losing things and understand it’s often out of our control.

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I walked into Algebra II in a good mood because I knew my teacher was going to be absent. The substitute teacher was one of the chill ones, so I decided to listen to some Taylor Swift songs while trying my best to be productive. I reached my hands into my pocket to grab my AirPods but they came out empty-handed. The split second of confusion was immediately followed by panic. I rifled through my bag as fast as I could, and after finding nothing in the hot garbage of my backpack, I asked to go to the gym lockers to see if I had left them there last period. That was the second time I’d lost my AirPods. The first time, I had found them in my bag after searching the entire school and rummaging through Brian Moran’s hoard of lost devices, but this time, they were gone for good. FindMy tracking was useless, and I still have no idea where they went to this day. My parents were, needless to say, upset, but there was not much to do about it after a couple of days of searching. It felt horrible at the moment, and there was, of course, the awful loss of control. 

Nothing sucks more than being a person who likes to have a sense of control but has a tendency to lose things. I’ve lost my AirPods, wallet, golden chain, a key or two, and three bracelets in the span of a couple of weeks. And those are just some of the more important items I’ve lost. It’s a rare occasion for me not to lose my writing utensils between first and 10th period. I mean, we’ve all been there: the sinking feeling when you realize you’ve lost something important and don’t know when or where or how you lost it. It’s one of the most mundane mysteries that either ends in relief or grief. Everything I lose is usually there one second and then suddenly gone in the blink of an eye. While the loss is a day-to-day occurrence and there’s nothing to do but move on, it becomes a problem both physically and mentally once it becomes a recurring issue. 

Less than a week after I lost those AirPods, I lost my wallet but found it the day after. The relief was immense when I found it deep down in the laundry hamper. I then lost not one, not two, but three bracelets made and given to me as a gift. I experienced immense guilt over this because, though they weren’t necessarily expensive, the thought and meaning behind these items made them invaluable to me. At this point, I’ve just accepted that I have a tendency to lose things, and the repeated shock of realization followed by the instant dread of what my parents will say is becoming exhausting.

It’s weird how physical objects have such a hold over us. Perhaps it depends on their price or the consequences that come along with the loss. Though  I should take better care of my things, oftentimes it’s not really my fault when I lose things—it just happens. I’ve been trying to keep mental notes in my head whenever I put down or place something important somewhere or just be attentive in general, but sometimes there’s just nothing to do. Yet the consequences seem to be brutal. The feeling of loss doesn’t come from the absence of the item itself but from what losing the item says about you. Losing an item comes with the heavy price tag of not only a sense of stability but also trustworthiness. I didn’t just lose my AirPods, chain, or whatever it may be, but I also lost my parents’ trust and gained a reputation of carelessness. There are awful feelings that come with repeatedly losing things, ranging from stress to despair, and it certainly has an emotional toll. When we lose things, we search frantically, and we start asking ourselves stressful questions. Where was it put last? Where was the last time I remember holding it? Who was around me? These questions quickly turn into blame, often towards ourselves. What is wrong with me? Why do I keep losing things?

I think the people connected to the items we may have lost or will lose should be more understanding and offer consolation rather than condemnation. This includes not just parents, family, friends, and significant others, but ourselves. There are so many factors in life, and things just happen. Losing something can be anything from a slightly annoying occurrence during the day to the final straw in a series of mishappenings that lead to a complete breakdown. But we should try our best to accept losses, forgive others and ourselves, and understand that, beyond all else, we are human.