It took me years to own the truth that I absolutely, without a doubt, can be completely counted upon to forget most of the things I wish to remember. I tried. Really I did. I wanted SO badly to be one of those women who could hear something and then casually remark, “Oh sure. I’ll do that.” and then. . . you know. . . actually do that. After all, that’s what grownups do, right?. But the day finally arrived when I accepted that, yes–even as a grownup, I. Will. Forget.
And on that day, I began my search for things that would remember for me. I found loads of strategies that worked (more on this later). And life has improved dramatically. The things I previously saw as a crutch for a weakness, I now saw as tools to success.
That’s really the point. They’re just TOOLS. Do we get mad at the plumber for reaching for a wrench instead of trying to twist off the pipe with his own hands? Do we look down on the cashier who uses a machine to add up our bill instead of doing the math herself? Do we think less of the doctor for listening to our heart with a stethoscope instead of using his own ear? (kinda creepy now that I think of it.) No we do not. They are simply using tools that make the desired task easier to accomplish.
How this applies to our Sizzlers
So here’s today’s dilemma. My now 14 year old Sizzler is in the same place I once was. She absolutely will forget, but doesn’t yet want to admit this to herself. My task this year is give her tools, and to teach her the value and empowerment that comes from using them.
As a result, we’ve adopted a new phrase in our house.
And how do we plan to remember?
Pick a tool. Any tool.
If I know I have to retrieve a folder at church tomorrow morning, I put a reminder note on the one thing I know I’ll take with me–my car. Right on the steering wheel, I’ll stick a note that will glare at me when I pop in to drive.
If I know I’m supposed to call my attorney at 2:15, I enlist the help of a timer. I often even put a little note on the timer reminding me of what I’m supposed to DO when that little buzzer calls to me.
My kids know that if there’s something they want me to remember in morning, they should put a note on my coffee maker. It’s the one place I’m absolutely going to visit first thing in the AM.
I use one of my favorite tools whenever I’m waiting to speak to someone who is presently otherwise engaged. I know that I must politely wait my turn. But I now also know that when my turn actually rolls around, I shall have completely forgotten what it was I wanted to say. So what’s my plan here? I hold a letter of the sign language alphabet in my hand that will remind me of my purpose. What if I need to tell this woman it’s her turn to bring muffins to the next event? I’m holding an “M”. What if I need to ask her the date of the upcoming science fair? I’m holding an “S”.
You get the idea.
Find strategies that will remember things for you.
In fact, there’s a theme to my tools:
Once you own this, life gets better.
Now, when I ask my daughter to box and refrigerate the now cooled pan of macaroni and cheese, and she answers, “Okay, let me finish this computer item first,” my follow-up response is, “Great! What’s your plan?” There’s no malice or condemnation in my tone. I simply want her to start creating a tool box of memory devices that work for her. I won’t be there when she goes off to college or gets married. They need a set of tools that they are skilled at using. Get started today. . . while there’s still time.