Yep, that's me, but look at the lawn ...

Yep, that’s me, but look at the lawn …

So, on Wednesday, we talked about how we focus on things like TV. I suggested that It wasn’t really a positive thing, more like something we can’t help. And while the focusing is something we’d like to be able to harness, I didn’t think I could find any help in examining this particular habit.

I did allude to the idea that drama might play a role in focus, and, bad TV aside, I still think drama is a great focusing tool. If you can find drama in a dull task, you have a better chance of making it to the end of that task.

My mother had a way of making my tasks more difficult. Don’t get me wrong here, she knew what she was doing. If I was suffering in my attempts to get through a particularly tedious task, she would make it more challenging. Bingo, focus accomplished.

Warning, folksy anecdote to follow …

I remember, years ago, my mother wanting to seed the lawn with chaff from the hay mow floor of our barn. This involved pushing a wheelbarrow some 800 yards to the barn, filling it up with “dust” from the barn floor, which contained lots of grass seed, and wheeling it back to the yard to be spread around. On the second trip, I started to become bored. I was fidgeting and dawdling, basically not of much use. And for your information I was maybe 11 years old, not 31.

The setup

My mother, whom I’m sure had suffered as much as I with a very similar life of distractions and exuberance, was very good at making things more palatable. Her coping mechanisms were developed during a time when life was less stressful than it is now, but they were good.

It’s not the destination, it’s the journey

She often had a solution, usually in the form of a challenge, and she did for this situation also. She decided the game would be this: one of us would ride in the wheelbarrow on the way to the barn.

We took turns. I would push her there and we’d get a load of dust and bring it back. It had to be spread out before we could head back to the barn again. Then she would push me in the wheelbarrow and we’d get another load. This made the job much harder. A load of hay dust weighed little more than an empty barrow, a load of person was a different matter altogether.

What a load …

But even if it was a hard task, it was a laugh all the way to the barn. I rushed through loading the wheelbarrow, and rushed it to the front yard, taking care to empty it in a place where it would take the least time to spread the contents around. We’d rake the chaff out into a thin, even layer and, once we were satisfied with the results, it was time for a ride. It was like taking part of the job and making it a break.

The trick is

So I guess it is drama after all … sort of. It’s the dramatic way in which we invest ourselves into our activities, make them intriguing, intricate, exciting, even if we can see through the flimsy facade we’ve created, how could it be any less real than the damned television? In fact, it was far more real.

So this is one of my ADHD solutions, one of my coping mechanisms. Bring on the drama, it’s my new ADHD medication.