I am quite certain that I have an attention deficit disorder. I have not been diagnosed, except for self-diagnosis, but all the signs are there. It makes my life interesting…and busy…and messy. I find it extremely difficult to carry anything through all the way to its end. My life is filled with unrealized plans and unfinished projects. Disappointing, yes, but – for me – it’s the norm.
I know I’d be better off if I could be more mindful: to just walk when I’m walking, to take in the sights and sounds and smells of the world around me; to simply eat during mealtime; to only relax before sleep. That’s not me, though. I get frustrated with myself, but I have learned to work with my need to go in ten directions at once.. Sometimes, I even feel a little proud of how many things I can juggle. On a day that I’ve chosen to make bread, for instance, to go with the soup I have simmering on the stove, while I’m putting laundry through its courses and writing letters, you can bet that I’ll decide that this is the day to rearrange the furniture in a room or two…just to throw my life into complete chaos.
Most of the time, it’s not quite that extreme. I’ve learned to plot out activities that I can do, while doing something else. While having my morning coffee, I write in my journal, draw, and read. While watching the morning news, I do an exercise routine. TV works well with multi-tasking. I choose programs with commercials. While watching a show in the evening, I often hold Rosa Parks on my lap to give her some attention. Or, I crochet. When a commercial comes on, I jump up to do the dishes, put laundry into the dryer, or set the coffee pot up for morning.
Audio books have been a wonderful addition to my life. I can listen while I’m walking the dogs, or while I’m drawing or doing needlework, or when I’m driving. Regular books have always been my companions, to fill to overflowing the time while I’m eating, or before I fall asleep. I don’t spend much time on the telephone, but now that my my phone is cordless, I can focus on any number of household chores while chatting. When I’m working in the studio, I put a movie on. I favor ones that I have seen before, so they don’t demand too much attention.
Trouble arises when a task demands all of my focus. That is when I usually fail to make forward progress. It’s just too hard to concentrate on only one thing. Those jobs get delayed. When I finally do tackle one of them, I’ll find a hundred things I surely ought to be doing instead. Or I’ll decide to make a pot of soup. Or rearrange the furniture. That is my life.