Thinking Aloud with my Fingers

I bounce from project to project, finishing the occasional endeavor if it’s especially short and requires little patience. It occurs to me that, if I were able to transfer the energy expended in one hundred unfinished projects into just a few important ones, I might well be living in a spectacularly well-appointed home with a lovely, productive garden. I might have a superb workshop, drive a gleaming car, and have a dozen novels under my belt. I just can’t seem to sit still long enough to get anything of consequence done. I lose interest. No, that’s not it; I don’t lose interest, I lose drive. I still have the interest, but I lose the initiative, the purpose, the…DRIVE. That’s it. I want to finish, but not badly enough to invest the effort. When I start, I’m gung-ho. And then something else attracts my attention and my energy. It’s simply a lack of discipline. That’s what it is.

I wonder how I managed to keep my clients happy. I wonder how I managed to stay employed. Have I always been this distracted? I suppose so. But until several years ago, I managed to force myself to plug along. I think that—forcing myself to plug along—may have been what drove me absolutely over the edge and made me decide to shut down the business, sell the assets, and “take a sabbatical.” I actually did intend to return to earning a living. But even that idea and the dozens of possibilities I explored got old and unattractive in short order. I’ve said I want to start a business of one kind or another, but I don’t want to run it once it’s up and operating. The operations and management aspect of business is boring in the extreme; it’s the launch and the scramble to make a go of it in the early stages that’s appealing. Beyond that, it’s dull. And dulling.

One of my less ambitious projects, HSV Open Mic Night, has become another distraction in need of offloading. When I began, I was enthusiastic. I still enjoy it. But I have absolutely no interest in continuing to orchestrate it every few months. It’s not like it requires exceptional efforts; it doesn’t. But I have grown tired of the novelty, I guess. I’m looking for someone else to take it over. Maybe that’s the same tactic I should use with my writing (and my house projects and my painting and my gardening, etc., etc.): look for someone to finish what I began. Hmm, here’s something to consider: I write far enough into a story to begin to develop an interesting plot and some intriguing characters; then, someone else takes over, supplementing my draft and working it over until a complete story emerges.  Meh. No, I don’t think that would go anywhere. It’s not unlike the idea of tearing off part of my deck and then offering others the opportunity to finish it because “it will be fun!” But maybe I can wiggle my way out of Open Mic Night that way; someone is bound to find it interesting. It is. It’s just no longer particularly interesting to me.

The idea of losing interest in projects, activities, endeavors, etc., etc. doesn’t seem so sinister until one considers other aspects of one’s life. Losing interest in one’s spouse, children, friends, et al to the extend that one might consider abandoning them would be viewed as evidence of lapses in morality or worse. At what point do commitments between people and projects and activities, and the loss thereof, blur toward indistinctness? Does the inability to maintain full commitment to endeavors that once meant a great deal offer clues to one’s moral fiber? Does the capacity to lose interest in something once so important suggest the same thing might happen with family and friends? These are scary thoughts, though I realize I may be over thinking the relationship between what could be symptoms of AADHD and one’s core decency as a human being.

Looking back at the preceding paragraphs, I must say I take great pride. Pride in my ability to finish several paragraphs that include complex sentences. Sentences that contain ideas that relate to one another, though in some cases only tangentially. But is this post really finished? Maybe not, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s done. My focus now moves on to a fresh cup of coffee and pumpernickel toast.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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