May 26th, 2010 | Tags: , ,

So I have this problem, and I know I’m not alone. It’s called distractibility. The technical term is ADHD, but I’m not disordered as much as I think it’s best divided into two parts for me–there’s the day-to-day stuff, which is easy to get a handle on with meds, and then there’s the larger, overarching life stuff. Goals, dreams, motivations. This is about the larger stuff.

I have, in conversation, referred to the shining grails, the sparks of inspiration that force us to walk toward them, even if it’s only a single step. My problem is that I see so many, all bright and golden and beautiful and true. The easy side of it is recognizing the practical considerations of such ideas, especially the very high-flown ones, but then the lower hanging fruit remain. These are ideas that are completely within my grasp should I but choose to move toward them. And this is the catch: I find myself getting caught up by one after the other, such that I begin one, meet with difficulty, and rather than chew through that difficulty I set it aside to “think about it.” And then, while I’m “thinking,” another gem is unearthed, fully-formed but for the doing.

The doing usually uncovers the Devil within the details, naturally. But by this time I’m already taking time from more practical considerations to push this thing forward, because, you see, I’m what I shall term a True Believer. That is to say, I favor the beauty of the idea over its possible impracticality, even when I recognize that the idea is usually more complex or my skills are not yet up to snuff. This leads to my usual state of affairs: speccing out several projects over the course of a month, and then winnowing those down to a few that are actually viable, then actually starting to commit to one or two, and then getting distracted by the next cycle of projects that have freshly crystallized in my brain. The wiki has been a bit of a savior for me, but it can also feed the energies of the very cycle I’m trying to mitigate. Since I got it up and running, I’ve been able to keep better track of the froth of ideas that my brain generates, and that has allowed me to at least see what sort of things are viable and not on a long-term basis. And, at the very least, I now have a record of my ideas, so that I can come back to things that were abandoned due to lack of skill when I have increased the appropriate variety of muscle mass. But all of this is still a kind of short-term distractibility, not far removed from basic stuff.

The meat of this is in recognizing that I’m thirty, and now recognizing the sheer dearth of time I have remaining to me. Yeah, I’m young. But I’m no longer ageless, or invincible. My body creaks with wear already. My brain is slower, my propensity for learning new things diminished. In conversations with my dad (back when we used to talk still) I came to understand his own tendencies in that direction. I could never understand why he couldn’t or wouldn’t pick up computer habits. No matter how I tried to get him to look for stuff on his own, he continuously relied on me to make things work, rather than learn more about the system so he could eventually manage it himself. This became a burden to me. But now I feel the weight of his recalcitrance. It’s not as though I don’t want to learn new things; it’s that I must more and more force myself to learn them, rather than slipping into them like going for a swim in 90-degree weather.

And with that, I begin to wonder how best my energies are spent. Not on a day-to-day basis, but on a long-term sense. Finally, I have realized that I am (not want to be, am) a writer. Sparrow and I have formed a pact of work, and already it is getting easier to write. (Again, the wiki helps here.) But my insides recoil at the thought of leaving my other projects, my pets, my darlings behind. I am still a gamer. I am still a crafter. I am still a reader. Heinlein was right; specialization is for insects. But in order to do something well, one must practice. And practicing one thing means that I choose to take the opportunity cost hit of not practicing another thing. For to do something well means to bring a dream to realization. And I have so many fucking dreams it hurts.

That’s all. No answers, just the dilemma. How to be true?

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