Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Different I've Become -- and Coping with ADD

Sssshhhhhh. I'm up here. In my hotel room, far away from the rooms where the sessions are taking place. I can see y'all in your smart suits, geek tags swinging. I'll be back down there with you soon enough.

Yes, I'm at a conference. I flew in today, leaving home at scary early in the morning after practically no sleep. After weeks of looking forward to this conference for the hotel room and not having someone bang on the door when I'm in the bathroom and having the luxury of taking a bath, I just miss AT so much. I just never knew I could love someone so much that it feels wrong to be away from him. I miss AL too. And my life of baking bread and crochet and finding organic stores and farms with AL and walking with AT to see the geese. I thought it would be good to get away, and I realize that the good of leaving is to realize how much I miss them. Yesterday, I was sad just thinking about leaving. I've run into a couple colleagues from grad school days already -- and I realize how different my priorities are now -- not in terms of the conference (I'm not good at all the glad-handing and networking of conferences -- I just prefer to sit down and have longer conversations with people rather than the quickie who-are-you-and-what-do-you-do stuff and have always been that way), but in terms of my life. It's weird but nice to think how I've changed. I wish I could feel more comfortable in those changes, but I think more sleep is probably key to feeling better in a bunch of ways. One of the colleagues I ran into and I commiserated about how being a parenting academic means feeling you're doing everything half-assed. It's so nice hearing that come out of someone who always looked, at least, like s/he knew what hir was doing. Maybe this is just what a parenting academic looks like. I mean. . . this is what it looks like! Anyway, this is what I look like -- and there's nothing wrong with it. No more of this mental toxic sludge! Just stop!

I had this classic moment at the airport. I was reading this fabulous-looking book on ADD that was talking about all this mental toxic sludge that goes on in our heads when we're just ADD when I booted up my phone and it said 7:30am, the time my connecting flight was supposed to leave. Which means that I had been blissfully reading the book as if I had all the time in the world -- for over an hour! I freaked out. Dropped the book and started down the hallway back to my gate. Luckily, it was just that my phone hadn't yet registered the time change and I was fine. But that freak-out like I could've been flipping through this book for more than an hour felt totally real -- and totally ADD. Just zoning so totally out that I have no idea how much time has elapsed. If I needed proof of my own ADD, there it was. In the book, they were talking about a state I know very well: Overwhelm. I get overwhelmed pretty easily -- or it's that my brain races and worries and obsesses so I'm overwhelmed early, way ahead of schedule. Obsessing is the one thing I don't procrastinate.

Right now, I'm too tired for true Overwhelm, but as always I'm having trouble figuring out what to do (and so I blog -- sorry everyone). I did a great job (if I say so myself) revising my presentation on paper on the flights, so now I need to incorporate those changes into the file and figure out where to print it. (Note to self: Don't forget again that you are a paper person! Revising on paper is doable, if wasteful. Just do as Anne Lamott says and plant trees and give it up already! Work with not against your natural proclivities, girlfriend, as I'd say to any of my friends.) Do I do it right now, when I'm tired, but not really sleepy enough to take the nap I surely desperately need? Or do I turn on the TV and trust that after a couple stressful days I will surely zone out and conk out asap? Why can't I ever make a decision? (ADD.) The book said when overwhelmed to back up and get back to a decent mental state. Which requires sleep. So TV and sleep, here I come. See? I can follow directions. Which maybe means I'm not ADD. Ha ha ha.


Sisyphus said...

Have fun at the conference!!!

rented life said...

DUDE! were we at the same conference? I forget I know English people who very well could have been at the large conference I just returned from.