May 31, 2007

Harnessing ADD

Like most parents dreaming of the best for their children, mine wanted me to be a doctor. When I told them I failed both my Qualitative and Organic Chemistry courses, their dreams faded into oblivion. Over the years, I realized I couldn't have been a good doctor, anyway -- and it was their fault... because they gave me ADD.

There was no "Attention Deficit Disorder" back then. We, young ones, were just "distracted" (it was the dawn of color TV!) or "over-stimulated" (good ol' rock 'n' roll!). Most of the time we were just experiencing a surge of hormones. Nobody thought we had some kind of "disorder."

It's only now, in this semi-retirement phase of my life that I finally understood why I've been constantly curious and "highly creative" –- I have ADD. With a craving to learn something new, my short attention span takes me from one body of interest to another. Many times, I would exhaust a passion to the point where I can say, "I've done that," and then I'd move on and try something new. That's not such a bad thing, is it?

Lately, I noticed that I've actually structured my activities to jibe with my ADD. For example, my handicrafts projects (like the bookmarks and notepads I sell online) require drying time, so after I'm done with one task, I can pull out and do something else. When I write or edit, I give it one or two passes, then I pull out and go back the next day with a fresh set of eyes. When I do my jewelry, I have several projects on-going and move from one inspiration to another. In between all these, I cook, surf the 'Net, garden, take photos, workout, and putter about. I'm never bored and I learn something new everyday. It's all so exciting!

In a way, I feel that I've successfully harnessed my ADD. My parents may have been disappointed that I didn't become a doctor, but they’d be happy that I've made the most of the genes they handed down.

So, I should end this here... I feel this big urge to learn metalsmithing. Where's that site I bookmarked?

[Reprinted from my old Blurty journal, May 5, 2005]