We can all be forgiven if we feel a little lost these days. Everything is…well…choose your adjective…messed up. Nothing feels right. Forward motion has stopped; all we have is the next day, or maybe the next week, and while we know exactly what those days will look like (hint – the same as the ones before them), we also seem to not know anything at all about what’s coming.
This is an odd, odd place to be, and it’s not much fun.
It makes me think of my turtle necklace. And a certain treasured bracelet. And a purple earring. No really. Stick with me here, this will make sense shortly.
The purple earring was one of a pair that my mom gave me, a long time ago. They were not my favorites, but I loved those earrings because I knew she did.
The bracelet was one my dad gave me, also a long time ago. It’s silver and gold, and throughout my entire professional career, whenever I got “dressed up” for an event, I would wear that bracelet. It’s so simple that no one probably noticed it, but I did.
The turtle necklace was a gift to myself, purchased on my 40th birthday trip to Hawaii with a dear friend. I love sea turtles, and we saw so many of them on that trip. That necklace, to me, marked the beginning of a decade when I began to care less what the world thought of me (the ‘fewer-f#%ks-at-forty’ phenomenon), and I treasured it for the memory of that trip, too. And for the fact that I could wear it while hiking and it wouldn’t turn my neck green. 🙂
All three of these things were lost over the past two years.
The earring and the bracelet vanished somewhere between my move from Boston to Virginia Beach. When one day, in a fit of organizing, I went through my jewelry case and noticed they were gone, I was truly puzzled. How could they have gone missing? ONE earring? And a bracelet I cared about? I felt more than a little sad.
The necklace vanished on a particular morning in Canmore, Alberta, during the final day of an incredible trip to the Canadian Rockies with my friend Shawn in August 2019. I took it off before a river rafting trip, and a week or so later, while unpacking, realized it was gone.
I won’t lie; I was a little upset at the loss of the necklace. I tore my gear apart, turned out the pockets of coats…I even facebook messaged the rafting company and asked them to check if it had been turned in.
The loss of the necklace got to me. I’m not sure why. I started to wonder if losing it was a sign…a sign that I’d been holding on to the recent past too tightly, that I needed to let go and find a new symbol for…whatever it was I was searching for. I told myself I was being foolish and maudlin, but I missed it. My nephew had liked to play with it on the rare moments he sat still on my lap.
About three months after that fateful moment at the rafting shop, I was visiting Salt Lake City, having dinner with, of all people, Shawn-from-the-Canada-trip. Along with another friend, we were noshing on Korean barbecue, and when it was time to pay, I reached into the chest pocket of my maroon puffy coat, where I’d stashed my credit card on a hike earlier that day. I pulled out the card, a receipt or two…and my turtle necklace, tangled amid the paper.
I actually gasped, and tried to explain to my puzzled friends why the world’s biggest grin had just split my face. The maroon puffy coat had indeed come with us to the rafting shop, and I must have stashed the necklace there when we changed into our gear. I had turned that coat inside out more than once, but somehow, the necklace had stayed hidden until that very moment.
Fast forward to last month, and I was forced by a busted AC to buy a new car, and to find the keys to my old one for the trade in. This meant digging into a small basket of junk that I’d been keeping on the shelf of my TV stand. I reflected, while digging, that I should clean out the basket, and a couple of days later, I did. And what did I find amid the chapstick and the hair elastics and the tic tacs? You guessed it – the missing purple earring AND my silver/gold bracelet. I will admit I did a little dance, there in my living room.
Why am I boring you with these rather mundane stories of lost items found? Well, because, the finding of them brought me a level of joy that seems out of proportion to the actual fact of them turning up. This is because, I think, these little items represent more than jewelry. They’ve come, through no fault of their own, to mean something to me – a memory of people who love me, and of an important moment in my life.
I lost them…and then somehow, the universe decided that I should find them.
Pre-pandemic, things were looking up around here. I was feeling good, losing weight, being healthier, and had a year of adventures to look forward to. I was starting to consider some bold steps to make things even better. I had my turtle necklace back, after all. 🙂 Then, the virus hit, and yeah…it’s derailed a lot of things, including my general mojo and ability to plan, well, anything.
In this isolated, insulated world that we currently inhabit, finding my earring and bracelet seemed like some other kind of sign. Of what, I’m not sure – maybe that some things aren’t lost forever. Sometimes, the universe will reveal them to us. Sometimes, we have to go back to a place we haven’t looked at in a while, and occasionally we might find something we treasure there.
It seems like this can apply to people, too, and I think that’s ultimately my message with this post. Who are the people in your life who are feeling lost? (Hint – it’s probably everyone). Have you gone looking for them recently? Or have you looked for the ones who hang out in the unexpected places, the ones who might need a little extra work to be found? The pandemic has been good for that, at least – many of us are in better touch than we were before. I hope that continues. Because it feels good to be found…especially when you’re not expecting it.