I am Tom Nardone and I am ADD. Most of the people in my life are not. My now ex-wife certainly was not ADD. She also therefore lacked the understanding or willingness to relate to me or my shortcomings. Every single day was an absolute endurance test with her. Let me tell you how bad it was. I know everybody exaggerates, even me. I am not going to exaggerate here.
You know how you get off work, walk out to your car, enter the vehicle, and then exhale as if to say “Phewwww, what a day that was!” and then you drive home and put it behind you? OK. That is what I did when I got into my car, but I did it as I went to work.
Yes! Work was where I went to relax! That might sound strange to some of you, but I will tell you why work was relaxing. I had friends that loved and cared about me there. It was a place where I was not constantly reminded of every little thing I did wrong. It was a place where if I did make a mistake, I might hear about it once. I would not be reminded of it once a month by some psychopathic historian, who would hold on to every little thing I ever did. Nobody at work had a mental rolodex that had all my faults cataloged, so they could just thumb through at will to make every case they brought against me seem valid. That is exactly the life I had at home.
My wife at the time would bring up things from my past like it happened ten minutes ago. Yes I was wrong sometimes, but that did not matter. When she was right I was wrong, and when she was wrong, I was still wrong. I was ADD and I was untreated at the time. I would try to explain to her why I did the things I did over and over and she just wouldn’t listen.
She left me one day while I was out of town seeing my mother. I came back to the house and all her things were gone. I did not feel any sadness, and I felt no loss. I do remember feeling one thing. That thing was relief. I remember saying out loud to an empty room “Wow this is what it feels like to be paroled!”
My life, after this was nothing but awesome. I married my best friend in the world Yvonne a year and a half later.
Everything in my life got better; everything.
I am not advocating divorce. I am advocating happiness. I was too weak to do the thing that I knew would make me happy. My wife did it for me when she left. Now things are different. When I find myself in a circumstance where people are causing me sadness, I remove myself. i now know that I am bound by no one, and no thing.
The news used to depress me. I have not watched a news broadcast of any description since the towers came down. I do not talk to people who talk about the news and when they do, I leave the room.
Here is my point; when you live in darkness, don’t sit around and wait for it to get fed up and leave. I just got lucky.
When we grow up with ADD, we are young, and we just expect to fit in because we don’t know we are different. When we become older we do realize we are different, but we don’t realize that we are in charge of our own lives and we can do whatever we want to do. We don’t realize that it does not matter that other people do things one way and we do things another. We don’t realize that the things that might be priorities to some, do not have to be priorities to us.
I think that what I have decided is that I am Tom Nardone. Nobody else is Tom Nardone, just me, and the thing about being Tom Nardone is that it is totally awesome being Tom Nardone.
I don’t want to be anybody else, and I don’t want anybody else to be me. I have enough to worry about in my life. I worry about where is my wallet, and where are my keys. I don’t need to worry about who is or isn’t happy with decisions I have made or am making. It is just too much, and plus I really just don’t care anyway.
It is hard to be this way all the time. But the alternative is unachievable. I will never live my life to anyone else’s expectation. Neither can you.
BUT, what if you could? What if you could think the same things everyone else thought? What if you wore the same type of clothes that the people in your life wore, listened to the same music, drove the same car, read the same books, listened to the same music? What if you did all these things and then someone asked you to tell them a little about yourself? What would you tell them?
Well you would probably lie, because if you told them the truth, here is what you would say:
I don’t really know who I am. Life is just sort of a dotted line that I try to follow as closely as I can. I just sort of go with the flow and follow the crowd. I go to places that my friends like to go, and I do whatever they do. I study what I see other people do and just figure it is easier to just learn from the things I see others do. I don’t usually like to make my own decisions because I might be the only person doing it.
OK I feel like I should go right now and boil myself, after having written that paragraph. So here is the short version.
I like to color, but not without someone else there to help me stay inside the lines, because you have to stay inside the lines.
Find out who you are, and be that person.
I am Tom Nardone. I am ADD, and you are welcome.