A kick in the pants

Wow, seeing this in my WordPress account sure made my day.

I started this blog back in October 2020 and have admittedly been jealous of people who have thousands of followers. (My other blog started in 2015 – The Caregiver’s Corner – has 18 followers with a total of 857 views. I should get a similar announcement on that site in….. about two years!)

Of course, I am not a very regular poster, and have not purposefully marketed myself; I have nothing to sell (yet), and I’m not trying to convert anyone to my way of thinking.

In truth, I only publish maybe one out of every ten WP posts that I start. I do write every day, and many times more often than that, but blogging has to bubble up and smack me in the face.

I begin almost every day with Morning Pages (MP), a process coined by Julia Cameron from her book The Artist’s Way that helps me to clear out all the cobwebs of my mind and set down top issues that need addressing. I’ve done this now in one form or another (paper or electronic) for over 40 years.

Similarly, at the end of the day I do Evening Pages (EP). Recently I have used a 5×7 calendar for this purpose to bullet point everything I’ve done: phone calls, shopping, accomplishments and a ‘rating’ word. I also use it to schedule tasks in advance as I’ve given up on to-do lists, except what is revealed in my MPs.

In between, I read and write about everything. I have boxes and cabinets filled to the gills with my ‘stuff.’ All waiting to be finished.

Only one of many boxes and books

I admittedly have ADHD although I have never been diagnosed. (If I eat bread, it makes me want to sleep, and at those times I only have ADD.) Unfortunately, this ‘condition,’ which may only be the belief that I have a monkey-mind, makes me jump around from project to project, and it is only with intense self-discipline that I accomplish anything at all.

Timers and stopwatches have become my best friends. CDs of conferences or hour-long YouTube music videos and 19-minute TedX Talks also serve as a sort of ‘policeman’ as I tell myself I must stick with one task until the end of the lecture or until the bell rings.

When my sister and I were young, Mom called it ‘Beat the Clock’ and we’d run around trying to make our bed, get dressed and tidy our room before that all-too-familiar sound of the Lux Minute Minder would start. If you could get to the timer before that, you could turn the dial gently, cover it with your hand to smother the sound, and get it to stop before it broke your eardrums.

This past Christmas, my dear Uncle Julian sent me a Beethoven timer out of one of the dozens of catalogs that he loves for their unique gifts. It’s chime is Fur Elise, the piano piece that I learned to play umpty-ump years ago. After I memorized it and had my recital, I quit. I never wanted to play another musical instrument as long as I lived. And until I was about 40, I hated classical music!

My sister, on the other hand, took lessons for many years and eventually taught students. I don’t think she ever played Fur Elise though. (Our uncle sent her a Mozart timer that plays Rondo Alla Turca; she was much more advanced.) And for some reason, she is able to finish everything she starts!

So what I now try to do is get to Beethoven before he starts playing that tune over and over and over again. It’s like a broken record! I hear my mother in Heaven laughing. I can still feel as well as hear that metronome going ‘tick-tock-tick-tock’ as I practiced my scales, all the while crying to her that I didn’t want to play the piano! I see myself moving that demon Lux a minute here, a minute there until it finally signaled to my ‘jailer’ that my sentence was over.

“Did you move that clock?” She’d frown as she looked into my face, clearly trying to remember what time I had started practicing.

And I looked right back at her in complete innocence and lied through my teeth.

She’s not here now so I can’t pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. If I don’t do something, or quit in the middle, or jump to something else, there’s no one here to set me straight again.

Recently, I’ve bought myself an hourglass. It’s a gentler, kinder prod.

So far, it’s working.

Author: Hillary Volk

I started writing when I was seven, and my ultimate goal was to become a published author. I've partially satisfied this desire by keeping a journal for most of my life. After graduating from Rutgers University, I worked in a large accounting firm as a knowledge manager, which honed my research skills on the newly developing internet. The study of Natural Health and Hygiene has been a passion of mine for over 40 years and I have a particular interest in the connection between behavior and nutrition. This knowledge was immensely helpful during the time I cared for my mother at home until her death in 2016, when I discovered a relationship between ADHD and dementia. I'm currently retired and writing Bread Madness, a book which I hope will help to change our institutionally driven culture into one that is more supportive and compassionate toward the elderly.

5 thoughts on “A kick in the pants”

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD about ten years ago. It’s far more common than one might think. Of course when I was a kid my parents didn’t have a clue, they just thought that I was part Tasmanian Devil. With me, I would swing like a pendulum between lack of focus and hyper focus. The hourglass could be dual purpose; reminding me to stay on task or reminding me to stop and take a break.

    Like

    1. I once had a boss that said that his ADHD was his best quality! His clients were some of the top entertainers of that time, and included Michael Jackson. He boasted that it was his wild-ass ideas and ability to think out of the box, paired with an uncanny knack for successfully spinning multiple plates in the air that made him indispensable to the company. However, he would have been a dismal failure if he had been forced to use his CPA in a more traditional way. Of course, his saving grace was that he was married to a wonderful woman who figuratively checked to ensure that he wore matching socks. LOL.
      Thanks for your comment, Mike.

      Like

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