Last Friday I was driving home from work on exactly the same road I had the day before and the day before that. It was one of the warmest, sunniest days we had had in a while. The music on my phone was on shuffle, a ritual I follow each afternoon. The traffic was fairly mild for a Friday with very few brake lights in view.
As I was driving through a forest preserve, which I have driven through almost everyday this year, I realized something...
I didn't remember how I had gotten to that point on my route home.
Couldn't identify what songs I had just been singing along to.
Couldn't tell you which lights I had made and which I had stopped at.
Couldn't even tell you what time I had gotten into my car to leave.
And then I panicked. Was I losing my memory?
After driving for a while longer on that same road, still heading towards home, I realized something else. If, everyday when I got home, I tried to identify details about the trip, I probably wouldn't have been able to tell you the songs I had sung, how many lights I had stopped at, or what time I got into the car.
And this wouldn't be because of memory loss. It's because this was a routine I followed everyday since September. And everyday it was the same motions I went through.
While this realization made me less nervous about my brain's health, it made me worry about something else.
How many other times in life had this same thing happened?
How many times had I sung, danced, laughed and can't remember them, let alone why?
How many "lights" had I made or missed without paying any attention to it?
How many people had slipped out of my life like this?
Could I even identify what happened along my route that led to this?
And this is the scariest thought of all. There could be so many things that I missed in life or people that I let go because I was just going through the motions, following my daily routine, and didn't think to pay attention to the details.
So I find myself asking, why is it that when the weather is warm and sunny we lose focus and what kind of effect does it have on the rest of our lives?