A year and a half ago, when it was obvious that the economy was in a downward spiral, [note 1] I decided it was time to put together a resume and get a job. My business, which was started in 2000, had more economic downs than ups and, subsequently, had taken its toll on my financial and emotional well-being. [note 2] While riding this hellish beast, the world around me had changed. My little kids became teenagers with one getting ready for college. My wife, through the miracle of talent with a large dose of stubbornness, kept climbing through the ranks of education, achieving new positions, and pay increases. In the meantime I daydreamed about closing that next deal that was going to change everything. That deal would be so big it would get us out of financial hot water. That deal never materialized.
It's now only two weeks shy of a full year that I've been in my new job. The job has forced me to, once again, confront myself and the wreckage of my life. [note 3] It has also forced me to search for a balance between the "interior life" of the A.D.D. mind and the external non-A.D.D. world. Interestingly, the responsibilities of the job, which entails both short and long-term projects, has enhanced my ability to visualize time. Though still a struggle, I am able to visualize short and long time-horizons. [note 4]
This ability to visualize time makes everything possible. I can now "see" how to get from here to there. I can see how my actions in the present will move me, almost imperceptibly (it is so small as to be microscopic) towards the long term goal that I visualize. Admittedly a large injection of hope – the A.D.D.ers drug of choice – is required to help me in this process. Since the future is not knowable in the present, hope eases the pain of the sometimes intolerable, mundane, but necessary activities of the present that are the requirements of reaching that goal that exists at the end of that long time-horizon. I can survive the present because I know (hope?) that there will be a better future. [note 5]
I wish I had gotten this job years ago. The beneficial effect of being able to visual time would have been solidified by now. [note 6] The daily mental struggles (mental gymnastics, really) would be behind me. I would be approaching A.D.D. normalcy. [note 7] But, in the same way that we cannot choose when to be born, we cannot truly know – until after it has occurred – that some particular action, like closing one's business and getting a regular job, will have a profound and beneficial effect.
My wife, the non-A.D.D.er, predicted this exact outcome.
- Obvious, at least to two A.D.D.ers. I'm one of them and my first business partner, a fellow A.D.D.er, was the other.↩
- The damage caused to my family is so great that its effects will be felt in future generations of my family.↩
- See my examination of the wreckage of life in Know Thyself. What is even more sobering, and depressing, is the wreckage I have caused in the lives of my wife and kids.↩
- Visualizing long time-horizons still remains the consummate challenge for the A.D.D.er. See The Tyranny of Now. My "collection" of writings on time can be found here.↩
- It is not possible to write this without commenting on the current economic crisis. Whatever may be the cause of the crisis and whatever may be the resulting financial loss, the most devastating loss is hope since it is hope that makes it possible to sacrifice in the present for a better future.↩
- To be more accurate, partially solidified, since for an A.D.D.er many mental structures that are thought to be solid are just a slow moving liquid…meaning they can potentially be in movement again (they return to a fast moving liquid) or they can evaporate (become a gas).↩
- This concept of A.D.D. normalcy is, one might say, asymptotic in nature (think calculus, here). The A.D.D.er gets infinitely closer to "normalcy" but never reaches it. Normalcy always eludes the A.D.D.er. The A.D.D.er is always in a state of Becoming normal but is never in a state of Being normal. To put it another way, the train of normalcy is always approaching the station but it never arrives.↩