Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Today all my failures crowd my spirit, flapping their wings and cawing. And that’s about the most poetic thing you’ll get out of me today.

School will be starting soon. Every year this new beginning has given me false hope. But after 9 years, I know that any intention I have to be more involved or to be better organized will fall victim to entropy. Now I feel disheartened before the school year has even begun.

When I was a child, the start of the school year was an enormous relief. After the amorphous and dull summer my days would fall into an orderly routine, one I would be forced to follow. At the time I didn’t know I had ADD. After all I was very smart and could whiz through most subjects. But empty time was dreadful. I had no idea what to do with myself, how to make time behave the way it did at school. At home I was terrible at managing my time for homework, studying and projects. Waiting to the last minute seemed to work rather well as a motivator. It was almost exhilarating.

Now I have no one but myself to organize my time and I hate it. First, I don’t believe myself. I can set a goal or deadline, but it’s just me. I have no authority with myself. Second, very little compels me. My interests evaporate the moment I look at them directly.

And work is worse each day. I’m sharp, a quick study, so at any job I soon get a lot of leeway to work on my own. This is a disaster. Also, once I’ve mastered a task, I’m completely bored by it. I’ve tried so many systems and none work for very long. My attention wanders. I forget things. I feel lost. I create lists I don’t follow, send myself email reminders that get buried. I take medication, but that only helps with concentration; it hasn’t transformed me into someone with intrinsic motivation or the ability to create routines and stay with them. And concentration - well if my attention snags on something shiny, it will stubbornly remain there however irrelevant it is.

My mother was also unable to order and direct. Drove me mad as a child. I so wanted her to establish rules, structure, and routines and force me to abide. But no. She alternated between impossible projects and lethargy. Now I have children and I can’t manage it either. I feel like a terrible role model.

I know the girls suffer from a lack of structure at home. Most days they are following someone else’s routine. I didn’t have that as a child, so I hope it helps, and when I pick them up there isn’t much time between then and bed, although those routines are frequently derailed, too. Weekends defeat me. Completely. So much empty time.

I read this today: “If you have to get motivated to take action then you are not motivated by the outcome. Need 2 Reevaluate purpose.” I think it’s from some GTD coach, a system that annoys the crap out of me. Most of the time outcomes are so far out they look like a mirage. Of course I’m not motivated by the outcome. No one BELIEVES in the outcome.

Okay, I’m bored with this.


  1. I hate school time as a parent.

    It's like your in my head with the whole motivationless, concentration problems maybe I have ADD..but I love empty more likely I'm just lazy..hehe

  2. Are you sure we aren't male and female versions of the same person?

  3. I have some things in common with what you said, except for the eagerness to return to school each summer. I hated going back to school, just like now I hate not having summer's off.

  4. Grish - I like empty time if it's just me. I'm very good at wallowing in it. But kids aren't. I never learned to actually plan anything with my time but I did become resigned to floating through it without purpose.

    Irritable - Separated at birth? If you have any strategies, pass 'em along.

    JP- If I had the summer off I would start thinking it was great and then they would have to institutionalize me.

    Mompriest - yes, I sigh frequently these days.

  5. ADD/ADHD are such trying conditions. I'm so glad that you have come to the conclusion that medication isn't the only answer. Here in England, so many youngsters are simply prescribed ritalin and then, with their families, left to get on with it.

  6. It wouldn't be so boring,if the outcome weren't so damn predictable..But,that's like 99% of the time,so there is that annoying 1% to hang your motivation on.

  7. Petty: meds are useful but you really have to learn a set of coping strategies. Also it helps to have some resources to help you learn to work with your add personality instead of trying to force yourself into "normal." The world just wants you to fit into the machinery of production and consumption.

    Sling: ain't that the truth. Thatls why comedy is so appealing - the unpredictable disrupting the normal.