I just re-read this “motivator” (written almost exactly a year ago) because I realized that recently I’d pretty much forgotten everything I’d advised my readers to do and was driving myself absolutely crazy as a result. I was in grave danger of “losing it” (my mind) as a result of my fear of “losing it” (my stuff.)  And I know it’s not just me…

“The iPhone Panic” is the worst. Seriously, I can feel my heart beating wildly as I start rummaging through my purse when I’m half way to JFK. “OMG, did I leave it on the hall table? Or, “Wait, is it still in the charger…?” And I hate it when someone says, “Well, where did you have it last?” If I knew that, I’d have it now, right?!” Our daughter, Kate, says, “Can’t you just go through a little check list before you leave to make sure you’ve got everything, including your phone?” Actually, I try to do that. But it doesn’t mean that I might not have just thought I had it…and been “wrong,” right?

So look, if you already read this, maybe read it again. And if you haven’t, now might be the time. We can’t go on like this.


No, I don’t mean your mind (we call that “going squirrely” in our family…) ‘tho that’s an ever present danger – for me, anyway.I mean a thing. And just for the record, misplacing something is just as bad as losing it – you go into the same kind of panic. You know: where are your glasses, your iPhone (I’ve written a lot about “The Lost iPhone Panic” – oy), your backpack or workbag, your ID to get into your office building…the list goes on and on. And when you travel, it gets a whole lot worse. “Wait, where’s my passport? Did I put it back in my purse or leave it with the curbside check-in guy?” Or, “Wait, where’s my boarding pass? I just HAD it. They’ve just called my “group number..”  “Wait, where’d I put my itinerary with the addresses for the hotel and conference center? It was right here with my speech. Wait!! Where’s my speech??”

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you get into the “lost it” mentality, the panic builds on itself. Almost everything seems in danger of being lost…or forgotten. On a business trip last week, I heard myself saying (out loud) in the cab from the airport to the hotel, “Wait, did I remember to pack those fabulous heels that go with my suit?! I can’t wear canvas, lace-up, espadrilles for a speech for God’s sake!!” (Actually, now that I think of it, that might’ve been chic…) And, reaching into my empty jacket pocket,  “Oh no, I took my earrings off on the plane, did I leave them on the seat?! I love those earrings…” Do you guys have this same problem? You always seem much calmer when you travel. Or is that just an act?

By the way, I’m so afraid of leaving something in a hotel room that when I leave, I do what I call “scorched earth.” I leave nothing to chance. I look in every nook and cranny (even places I haven’t been…) to make sure NOTHING is left. NOTHING, I tell you.

Once I got on the plane to head back to NYC, I calmed down, read the NYTimes cover to cover, closed my eyes and chilled. But the “chillin’” didn’t last long. When I went to baggage claim to pick up my bag it wasn’t there. “Where are the bags for American flight 3405?” I asked a guy who looked like an airport “official.” “I don’t know,” he said. “I guess they’ve all been picked up.” “But where’s my bag?”! I asked, beginning to go into “The Panic.” (I had a vintage – as in fifteen years old – Armani suit in there along with a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, generously lent by my daughter, Abigail, among other favorite things…) “Maybe they’re over there,” he added, pointing to another baggage carousel. “But that’s United baggage claim!” I said, beginning to get really worked up. “Oh, right.” the guy said.

I started looking frantically around for someone, anyone who could help. Finally, another passenger suggested I go to the “American Baggage Claim Office” which he thought was somewhere “down there,” ie., at the very end of LaGuardia’s baggage claim area. I almost ran in that direction, now worried that maybe my “lost” bag would be “taken” by somebody who could smell an Armani a mile away… I saw a small room that looked like it could be an office and through the window saw…my bag! It was just sitting there – alone. So I went in and took it. I made it two thirds of the way to the baggage claim exit when someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked for my ID. “Oh, this is my bag, all right,” I said, “Look, there’s the name tag on it. See? That’s me, Gail Blanke!” “Got to see an ID,” the woman said. “Okay, okay,” I said and started rummaging through my already ransacked purse for my ID. Because I was still in “panic mode,” my search was erratic, so it took way longer than it should have. I saw the woman roll her eyes. I actually felt like lying down somewhere…

Here’s the thing: I didn’t lose anything the whole trip! I didn’t even forget anything! But I did put myself through a whole lot of panicky moments – thanks to my irrational fear of “losing it.” What an incredible waste of time and energy. I’m not doing it again. Seriously. But I am going to imprint on my brain that just because something isn’t visible at the moment, doesn’t mean it’s lost. It’s somewhere.  I’m calling it, “NVN” – not visible now. It’ll show up.

When I got home I plopped myself down in a chair and heaved a big sigh. Willa, our super-sensitive Golden Retriever, came over, looked at me hard and put her paw in my lap. “You okay?” Jim asked reading Willa’s thoughts. “Yup, I’m fine,” I said, looking at them both. “Just got a little worked up.” “Over what?” Jim asked. “Over nothing,” I said.

So listen, next time you feel yourself getting “worked up” over “losing it,” settle down. It’s there. Somewhere. And look, worse case scenario? Even if it turns out not to be there. It’ll be okay. Nothing is irreplaceable. Except people. And dogs.  And look, you don’t want to go squirrely, do you? At least not yet.


Gail Blanke’s Lifedesigns ©2015 All Rights Reserved

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