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Reframing absent-mindedness

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teacupWhen I was a kid, my mom used to call me her absent-minded professor. Sometimes with affection, and sometimes with frustration.

Absent-mindedness is an odd term for the kind of forgetfulness I struggle with, still.

It’s a product of meandering within the confines of my mind, not engaging fully in the tangible world around me.

For the most part, it’s a harmless trait, one that makes friends and family chuckle—and sometimes roll their eyes in frustration.

But I have a grandmother who developed Alzheimer’s, and sometimes I worry.

Pregnancy has increased my forgetfulness. Particularly in the first trimester, I had a hard time remembering to turn the stove off. A month or so ago, I drove off with the hatch open on the Subaru, with Brady in his kennel in the back, enjoying more breeze than I intended. And I can’t count the times I walk into a room, then can’t remember why I’m there.

But one of those times, as I stood there berating myself for spaciness, I had an “aha!” moment.

What if I thought of those moments of absent-mindedness as an invitation to practice being present? What if they are not failures, but opportunities?

Now, when I hear that scolding, anxious voice, I take a deep breath, pay attention to my surroundings, and wait patiently for memory to re-emerge.

It feels tremendously freeing.

And somehow, this small practice has helped me to see that 75% of my grandparents lived long lives without dementia.

These small moments of liberating grace are such a treasure.

Photo by A Girl With Tea



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