My memory isn’t what it used to be, so maybe I should have kept the gift I gave away today – a cute little Leapfrog Spanish-English “Memory Mate” Matching Game – one of three memory card games in our son Theo’s collection. I often feel so overloaded with both important information and the trivial details of daily life that I feel the need to add an external hard drive to my brain. But I guess that’s what our smart phones are for. Not surprising then, when they run out of juice or cease to function, or are dropped into the toilet (which happened recently to a friend of mine), that the world can seem to start unraveling and a total nervous breakdown can seem imminent.
As I dig through cupboards, drawers, boxes and piles of belongings trying to find things to purge from our lives, I am reminded of the parallel between the clutter in our physical lives and our messy mental lives. Keeping track of a thought, a number, an idea is hard when we have to juggle so many of them daily, just as knowing where each and every one of our books is if we have hundreds of them. And many of us do – and they’re often scattered all over the house, in the car, in boxes in the garage, lent out to friends. Clearing my home of the physical clutter is an activity that I hope will help declutter my head too. Not having so many coffee cups will give me one less decision to make in my dopey morning state. Not having so many pairs of pants or shoes can make getting dressed a far less complicated ordeal. Having less stuff lying around on countertops, in cupboards and drawers and in desks will make finding each thing much time consuming and taxing on my over-stretched brain.
So going through Theo’s games, I decided that one memory card game should be plenty to exercise our brains as a family, even if it doesn’t teach us Spanish at the same time. I gave the Leapfrog Memory Mate to the school library. Pati, the library aide (see April 15) took it happily and went on to tell me that the kids had loved the other matching game I’d donated a while ago. It took me a minute to realize. That’s right. I had given her one already. I had completely forgotten!