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The Crime Of Time

coffee, no cup
Just watching it slip past …

For those of us with ADHD, time is our nemesis.

We don’t get it. We don’t work well with it.

We feel like it should be something we can control, like there’s something obvious about it that we are missing.

And we’re all doing that thing where we pretend that we know what we’re doing, that everything is all right, and we desperately hope that no one notices that we’re searching, equally desperately for the off switch or the control lever that … well, that controls time.

It’s confusing

Well, that’s an understatement.

Time is a mystifyingly enigmatic labyrinth of inexplicable paradoxes.

Time passes at what seems, by the clock, to be a set and steady rate, but when there is no clock, the rate of time is obviously elastic. So much so that when a clock is within sight, but is only consulted intermittently, the clock’s reliability is suspect by the person with ADHD.

Small picture

Within a day, time can seem to disappear like mist before a freshening breeze when one looks back on the last eight to sixteen hours.

And yet, during that day those minutes and seconds can lag drearily and last forever.

Big picture

In the bigger picture, often we experience two perceptions of time during projects, the perception that there is plenty of time until there is no time, followed by the perception that there is no time and never really was.

That is to say that there was never a time when we perceived time and progress moving along in tandem with the sense that things were “on schedule” … whatever that means.

Biggest picture

And on the life-size scale of time, the same thing is happening to me.

Yesterday I was telling myself that I’m eighteen and there’s lots of time.

Today … I’m sixty. What the hell? Where did that go?

All that life, gone.

And …

Nothing learned. I still don’t know where the switch or the lever is. It’s like a coffee machine where you put your money in and press the selection button and a cup is supposed to fall into place and then fill up.

Only, there are secret instructions that tell you to bring your own cup and place it in the machine first.

And now you’re watching the time flow past and into the drain and you’re desperately trying to remember where you might have left  the last cup you had.

And then you realize that the only thing you can get out of that time flowing by is the memory of what it was like to see it pass, so you just stop your cup considerations and try to recall the flow of that stream of liquid that you so wanted to drink as it passed you by.

It has been said …

For people with ADHD, there are only two times, now, and not now.

But what often gets left out of that is that we spend so much of now being unaware of now, we waste it contemplating the not now, both past and future, or not thinking about time at all.

I’m sixty, and that is how old I am right now. Right NOW!

And I’m going to just take a moment to savor that. This moment. Now.

The Crime Of Time

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2019). The Crime Of Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 9 Apr 2019
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