Aug 14, 2013

The Aging, Retired ADDer

For decades I denied that I had Attention Deficit Deficiency (ADD) even though I had many of the symptoms. I just couldn't connect to the ADD poster-children described in the books that I read. I did procrastinate. And I did get distracted easily. And I wasn't all that organized. But I was functioning, and doing so at a pretty high level.

What may have kept me functioning was the combination of structure and fear that came with working for a living. Structure: I had jobs to do with dates--usually last week--attached. And hanging over me was the threat of disaster for my family--and failure for me--if I didn't get things done, if not last week then at least next week. Or the week after next.

So deadlines and threats kept me moving and focused. During the short interludes when finance was not a problem I'd happily let my mind wander. So many interesting things! Oh! Look! A squirrel.

Then came retirement. Thanks to the money that Bobbi had stashed we were in good shape. I didn't have to worry about compromising our life style. Our financial advisor figured that we'd both drop dead before we ran out of money. He said it in a much more politic way, but that was the message.

Our post-retirement cross-country trip was full of plans for things that I could do in retirement. I could paint, after first learning to draw. I could practice guitar and keyboards and get to be mediocre. I could sculpt. I could write.

Or I could surf the Internet and add to my store of useful, semi-useful, and utterly useless knowledge. Which, of course, I did. To excess. I wasn't exactly wasting time--I was using it to learn. But I wasn't doing what I said I wanted to do.

Most of all, I wanted to write, and I wasn't writing. I'd sit down to write. I'd pick a topic. I might even write a few sentences. But sooner or later--as in sooner--I'd decide that I didn't know enough about some facet of what I was writing about.  Or thinking about writing about. No problem. I was living in the world's biggest research library. So off I went, researching.

All of the world's knowledge is connected. Start anywhere, follow what's interesting, and you'll end up with hours consumed, learning about something that bears almost no relationship to what you first decided to learn. That is, if you were me. Which you're not, unless it's me reading this. But you get the idea.

I could explain how each topic I researched was connected to the one before it, but I couldn't draw a straight line in information space from the starting point through the intermediate points to the end. Or even a curvy one. The walk was random. Brownian motion in a browser.

My behavior had an underlying reason, and since the available choices were ADD and senility, I embraced ADD, and decided to do something about it. Of course there's a problem here. When a person like me with ADD decides to do something about ADD, the something that the person like me is likely to do involves Brownian browsing. ADD is the starting point for each walk. Who-the-fuck-knows-what is the ending point. Frogs? Thirteenth century painting? Quantum physics?

In desperation, I went to see my doctor. He prescribed  some meds that sat in my medicine cabinet for a few months, until finally, in greater desperation, I tried them. They didn't seem to do to much. So I traded him in for a doctor who put me on some meds that did some combination of helping me focus and making me less concerned about ADD.

It's been a few years, now. During that time I have had a few productive writing periods. And I found something useful to do for the company I'd retired from. A little structure, and a little money.

But the ADD hangs there. The only reason I'm writing this, and not out surfing, is the structure provided by my thrice-weekly writing hangout with my big little sister, and my commitment to her that I would spend that time writing, and not doing whatever I'd been working on when we started or whatever struck my fancy as we continued.

So that's the story behind this post.

And I'm sticking to it.

Aug 8, 2013


On the surface my life is pretty simple. Scratch the surface and there's a lot of areas that are in a state of confusion. The canary in the mine is this statement: "I don't know what to do." That's a sign of confusion. And that's different from "I don't have enough time time to work on that; or to figure out what to do." And it's very different from "I don't care about that."

Confusions have the following characteristics: there's a situation; I want to do something about the situation; I have or can make some time; but I don't know what to do. I don't know where to start. I don't know where to start starting. I'm stuck. And those stucknesses weigh me down.

A simple example, one that came to me while I was writing this. I pride myself on my sense of humor. I'm able to look at something that seems serious and find something funny about it. That's a great personal ability. It keeps me from being stuck when there's nothing I can do--or nothing that I want to do. I can just laugh it off. It also helps when I can get someone else to laugh and get unstuck.

Bobbi, for example, has a sense of humor that's different from mine. If she finds something funny there's a high probability (high 90's) that I'll find it funny, too. Or if I don't find it funny, I can at least appreciate why someone might find it funny. The process is not symmetrical. If I find something funny there's maybe a 50% chance that she will not only not find it funny, but completely not understand why it might be funny.

This qualifies as a confusion. It's a situation. I want to do something about it--very much in fact. And I don't know what to do. I don't know where to start. I don't even quite know how to approach the existence of the problem.

But there you have it: a simple issue, one that can be, and has been overlooked many times.  Now it's time to stop overlooking these kinds of problems.

There are more such situations. Some relate to others. A few so purely personal that I don't want to share them public. So I've got a different blog for those and from time to time I will link to the blog. But access to that will be restricted. Some day, when I don't care, I'll make the restrictions less onerous.
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Aug 5, 2013

The quest to improve---nothing

I'm not blogging. Or not blogging regularly, which as far as I am concerned qualifies as not blogging.

When did I post last? I dread checking. It's probably a week ago. Or more. I'm not going to look. Except I've got to look, because this post is a follow-up to what I think is my last post: My Deal With My Sister.

But I won't check the date. Whenever it was, it's too long ago.

Many of my posts, as Zygote 3, my youngest daughter, has observed, are on one or several of the following themes:

  • How I stopped blogging
  • How I'm going to start
  • What I'm going to do to keep going
  • My brilliant discovery of why I stopped last time and what I'm gonna to next time
  • And so on.
And, of course, this one follows that pattern. Which I'm going to change (another theme) by wrapping up this post and writing a different one.

Right. That's the story.