I remember times when I was all but shut down.
Emotionally, intellectually, even physically, I was not participating.
I was, instead, putting all my effort and all my concentration into willing time to go faster, willing my life to move forward to a point in time when I could be assured of not having to interact with my life the way it was then.
When was this?
School. Ah yes, good old school. Public school was the worst. Until I was half way through grade six, my schools contained under forty students, usually all around my age, and one teacher.
Yes, one room schools. We were bused to them. There would be two grades, three at most, and the kids there would all be my age. But I was the anomaly, or at least one of the three or four that had ADHD.
And we didn’t know about ADHD, we didn’t know what it was or what it meant. In fact, back then it was called Minimal Brain Dysfunction and it was not understood to be as rampant as we now know it is.
Normal or …
I was in a world where everyone was normal, or was being helped to be normal, to fit in as if we were normal.
And yes, I heard a lot of the good ol’ “… all you need to do is apply yourself. Just try harder.”
Socially, my life was a horror. Tied directly to school, I was treated marginally like a bit of a freak. What ever happened in the class room was magnified and caricatured on the playground.
I often spent the forty-five minute bus ride to and from school with my face pressed to the window watching the scenery go by and willing time to travel faster.
I would sit and think that “one day” this would all be behind me so why couldn’t “one day” be now? I’d concentrate on how just a moment ago it was this day last week, and focus on how fast that went by, expand my view of the past to two weeks ago, three weeks, a month. I’d “feel” how quickly all this time had passed and I’d visualize myself racing through the seconds and minutes, the hours and days and weeks …
One day perspective?
Nope. That was a perspective, and it was all about “one day,” but it was all wrong.
My first clue that there was a problem was when I realized I’d missed so many things by putting myself into a sort of emotional suspended animation.
Suddenly I was twenty. I was out in the real world and I’d learned nothing of being a person.
And what was worse …
I’d actually managed to speed time up, or at least my perspective of time. It was racing by, and I hadn’t figured out how to put on the brakes.
And life went racing by … now here I am at fifty-nine.
The good news is that I’ve finally figured out how to reverse the effect of speeding through time. I can’t go back and get those days back, but I am slowing time down now that I’ve realized its value.
The trick is to do the opposite of what I’d done back then. Instead of looking at how quickly time can flash by and visualizing myself racing through it, I look at how full and good this moment is right now, and I consume it with my heart.
And I don’t give a damn
Not one single damn, about how people interact with me socially. I just do my best to accept them and interact with them in ways they can understand.
The “one day” perspective isn’t about “one day” way off in the future. No.
The one day perspective is about the fact that we woke up today, and we have this one day to live.
One day is today
It’s about saying to hell with ADHD and society’s perception of it and me, and saying hello to this day and its potential to be a full and enriching part of my life.
It’s the only day you’re going to get today, squeeze everything you can out of it. Everything.
That’s an order, from me, an order and a gift.