There is a lot said about “Time” such as; Time waits for no man, Time is money, Time heals all wounds, or Time is on our side. I have a different attitude towards time. Those of us with ADD or ADHD know this all too well. Time is screwing us!
I woke up one Tuesday morning. It was my day off, and as I always do on my day off, I went downstairs and fired up my laptop. My wife had gone to work, and my son had gone to school. I was excited because I was going to pick up a new video game. They opened at 11am so I waited until 10:50am to leave the house. I sat and I typed until the alarm went off. I got up, and grabbed my wallet. I went downstairs and realized that I did not know where my keys were.
I looked and looked. I couldn’t find my keys anywhere. I checked my messy desk. I checked my pants I had worn the day before. I checked upstairs and downstairs. I checked the kitchen, and the bathroom. I checked my messy desk a second time and then a third time. Some of you might be thinking well that is just stupid to check the same place three times. Yah well the joke is on you because I found them, right there on my desk, the fourth time. HAH!
On my way to the game store, I was thinking, “Wow that was 2 hours of my life.” I was thinking that there are, and have been over the course of my life, a lot of things that I have had to look for. I have spent countless hours looking for my homework, my books, my keys, my shoes, my wallet, a receipt, a computer file, or anything else small enough to misplace. How much time have I lost?
Another thief of time, has been, a never-ending perpetual marathon that seems to have no finish line. That is cleaning my room. I have been trying to accomplish this for my whole life. When I was a child, it was my bedroom. I can still remember my father referring to my room as a “Swill Hole!” Now as an adult, it is my man-cave. I don’t know how it gets in disarray. I don’t know what is going through my head when the mess starts happening. It’s as if my stuff is undisciplined and just not happy unless it is running the show. It has all decided that it likes being wherever it wants to be in spite of my efforts. It has always been that way, and I have spent my lifetime trying to fight it.
I also remember so many things as a child that I had to do a second time. That is something else about my father; He would allow me to jobs over and over until they were done correctly. I also learned a lot of my favorite swear words during this time. The problem was that I was thinking about what I was going to do after my chores, rather than listening attentively to my father’s instructions. Every time I went in to tell him I was finished, he would come outside, and there would be something that he told me to do that I had no idea he even mentioned. About the time it was starting to get dark, he would come out and say “Well you can’t work in the dark Tommy. Come on in and eat. We can just try it again tomorrow.”
None of this just stopped when I became an adult. It just evolved. The main difference this posed as a child, verses as an adult, was this. Instead of my loving father coming outside and saying “No, Tommy you’re not finished yet.” some other person would come to where I was working and call me away and explain to me that I was fired. I could not even tell you how many times I got fired from a job, that in my heart I truly believed I was doing well.
I thought about all these things, and this is what I figured out. Now I don’t mean to brag, but I feel like it is fair to say that over the course of my life, I have spent at least, 5 hours a week just looking for things I have lost, or cleaning a room, or doing jobs over and, over again. I believe that is a conservative estimate.
So, in an attempt to assess the net result of my efforts, I decided to crunch the numbers. I was curious. I wondered what the bottom line was. Today I am 41 years old. I figure I must have started looking for things as soon as I was able to start losing things. I figured from the age of 3 to 41 that is 38 years. What does all that mean? It means that I have spent one year and two months of my life, trying to solve the problems I created for myself.
So I have had to accept a few things: I don’t ever expect that my room will ever be perfectly clean. I don’t expect that at any given moment, I will be able to pinpoint the location of my keys, wallet or my shoes. I don’t ever expect that any of the problems I have will magically vanish one day. I don’t ever expect to live a life absent challenges.
I work at the Home Depot, and I do expect that today, a man, living right here in Greenville SC, woke up and proudly took a dump, into a toilet that I taught him how to install. I do expect that a 70 year old lady put a load of clothes into her dryer, powered by a 3 prong 220volt receptacle that I taught her how to hook up herself. I do expect that today 3 kids played in a tree house that I helped their daddy design and build.
Mostly though, I expect that if I were asked; Would I rather have lived my life, without all the pains and frustrations that my ADHD has brought me, or would I like to have back, the year and two months that I wasted because of the trials I have faced, that are part of being ADHD. I would answer “Yes I would, but not at the expense of the people that I just mentioned, or the countless others that I have taught to be heroes.”
In my mind, that year and two months, was the cost of doing something great. That year and two months is what was necessary to enabled me to make other people laugh and not worry about so many things.
I believe that in the light of all this, a year and two months pales in comparison.
So Yes, “Father Time” you are a whore, but I’m fine with it.
I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome
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