Finding My Way in a New Place
by Stephanie “Teffie” Landmann, COTA/L,
PAC Support Mentor, Coach, and Trainer
I recently experienced a decrease in the function of my hippocampus. Let me fill you in on what happened. At the end of January, I moved to a new town. For those of you that know my living quarters prior to January, all that was involved with me moving to a new town was to stow away a few things, unhook utilities, turn the key, and pray for the engine to start.
For the past four years I lived in a motorhome. Yep, the simplicity of RV life in a 24 foot by 8 foot tiny space. It had all the essentials; kitchen, bathroom, bed sofa, and dining table, not much more was needed. That was until I fell in love… with a building. It took a 1930’s Art-Deco building converted to a condo to entice me to leave. So big changes up to 745 sq. feet in a 12-story building with elevators, gym, pool, and owner’s lounge.
So, there was the usual hippocampal mix ups with moving. Where’s the light switch (way finding)? Which drawer did I put the silverware in (learn and remember)? It’s 10pm already, feels like I just got my day started (passage of time)? The time I noticed it the most was two days after move-in day. I got on the elevator to go down to check the mail, once on, I hit the 5th floor button. It lit up green then went away. I hit it again, and again, and again. Finally, my stepfather said we are on the 5th floor, you need to go to the 1st floor. Oops, in my fear of the elevator not working I didn’t recognize where I was or really what floor I was on. Good thing I had someone with me to support me in a moment of need and was able to laugh about it afterwards.
Have you found yourself or someone else turned around in a new unfamiliar place? Did you do what I did? Keep pressing the button to get the elevator to work, or press it harder, really mash that button so this time it will go. Why do we do the same thing expecting a different result? Let’s pause, get some support to find the right button to push. Then reduce some stress by laughing over the little things.