A Case for Mindfulness: Leaving for Work Forever

Guy with a goofy face in a goofy hat. Courtesy of gratisography.com

This is not me, just how I felt.

Headed out of the backdoor, on my way to work after a rushed morning with much on my mind, I decide to take a moment to discard an old bag of dog food and go ahead and feed the dog while I’m at it. I place my jacket and bag on the dryer and proceed to do accomplish a task I believe will take one minute, after which I will feel good about my choice to be a doer and not a procrastinator.

After feeding the dog, however, I do not see my keys on the key hooks. I search my pants pockets and double check the hooks. I survey all the counters in the kitchen. I wander back to the office, trying to remember if I had the keys out when I picked up my bag and computer. I search my pants pockets. Then I stop for a moment to rethink my morning. I had taken the dog for a walk, which means I should have had the keys then. I check the pants I had on while walking. I check the bathroom counter.

While I am wandering almost aimlessly about the house, I think about how absentminded I am, how much smoother my morning would be if I had a routine. I think about how I will probably need to take the toll road into work so I can shave a few minutes off the commute. I search my pants pockets. I realize this is not actually helping me find my keys, so I pause again and reflect. I remember taking the keys off the hook because I was thinking about how a different set was missing. I must have had them when I was about to leave because I wouldn’t have gone into the utility room to see the dog food bags without my keys.

On the dryer I find my jacket and keys and feel a sense of relief and frustration. Then I notice that the door is open, not just ajar but halfway open. Has Rory run off? She is prone to take advantage of such an opportunity, and I likely left the intermediary door open while looking for my keys. I step through the doorway and whistle, prepared to chase her down. I stop, and realize I should probably get her leash first. I step back inside and grab the leash, turn and start to head back out. I pause. Maybe I should check the house first before creeping around the cul-de-sac in search of a dog who might not be there. I am not quite paralyzed, but I can’t decide what is the best use of my time.

As I turn again, this time to head back in the house, I see Rory standing in the doorway, likely in response to my whistling for her. I curse myself, audibly maybe, or maybe just in my head. I laugh a little and put the leash back. Gathering up all my work things, I head out again, thinking that I should definitely take the toll road.

I consider all the moments I could have taken a breath and collected my thoughts, to actually work through the situation I was in and where I might have left the keys. I think about how often I waste time in this kind of foggy, not quite present state. I replay the whole charade over in my mind. And I realize, as a cross the freeway on the overpass, that I forgot to take the turn for the toll road.

This is too often my life. Unmindful. Disorganized. Frayed.


  1. Rebekah says

    Even in my almost obsessive attempts to have routine and be organized, I frequently am in a similar state.

  2. Carol says

    Oh Josh, this sounds familiar to me when I was commuting 50 miles to work. I started laying out my bag and anything else I needed for the next day the night before. It helped.

    Having routine is essential to staying on track for me. Mindfulness is as much about time as it is about presence. If I don’t allow the time, mindfulness goes out the window.

    I hope the rest of your day got better.

    • says

      Well, I just used the opportunity to stop by Starbucks since taking the wrong route meant it was on the way. And I was only a few minutes late.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *