Friday, August 15, 2008

And again and again and again and again...

I've been having difficulty getting back to reality after having family here for ten days.

It's interesting the way our minds don't always fall back into place the way we might want them to after an event. There is comfort in structure, routine, habit and repetition that no matter how amusing an interruption might be, we miss the familiar.

Perhaps there is some kind of biological weakness or spiritual necessity for this inability to transition immediately. Is it that the brain doesn't adjust that easily? Do neurons get stuck in patterns from yesterday, making return to older routines more difficult? We often hear of the reverse, the way we are unable to progress from one behavior to another more desirable one, but what about the need to move from today back to previous weeks, for example, going back to work after a vacation? What makes that so difficult? Are we biologically and spiritually programmed to "move on" for our own good? If so, does that programming work against us in some ways? It seems so.

I don't think it is always a case of having fun and not wanting to give it up (though certainly, there is some of that). If we are that reticent to return to "real life" after a vacation, for example, we might want to re-think how we perceive and live our seemingly repetitive hours. What is it about our routines that make them so despicable at times? What is it about the "normal" that encourages us to run from it? Yoda might say, "You are RESSSSST--LESS!" And that could be it. But part of us does indeed want to return to our version of the everyday. How do we explain that ambivalence?

In my case, the professionals might refer to my ADHD. Structure and routine are necessary but boring. And there is truth to this--no matter how much I need routine and familiarity, I easily tire of it. And I hate being bored. Boredom is depressing. I find I love my morning writing and reading routine. But since childhood, I have hated the "getting ready" routine. It is frustrating, this repetitive showering, teeth brushing, dressing, looking for underwear.... Since I must keep on track, however, for my own sake and my children's, I trek on.

I don't think we can blame all of these symptoms on ADHD, however, because they are common to most people. Perhaps boredom is exacerbated in folks like me, but I don't think the behaviors are so peculiar--frustrating, yes, but peculiar, no.

Long ago, even before I was diagnosed with ADHD, I realized I could not tolerate tedious work. Like many people, I need variety and challenge. I need the opportunity to apply my creativity and drive. But unlike other people, I seem to struggle more with necessary, routine tasks. I can do them, but there is a certain amount of pain associated with these activities. And lately, if I don't get out of the house, especially in the afternoon, I experience a certain amount of melancholy.

This is all the more reason I need to get a (paying) job somewhat outside the home but with flexibility so I can tend to the children's needs. I sound like a typical mother, now, don't I? Working from home has been a boon, but I'm not sure it has been healthy in many ways.

I see as I write this (which is one reason writing is so important) that some of the questions I began this piece with can be answered by asking, "What is it I need to make daily life palatable? What is it that makes getting back to routine is so distasteful?"

Perhaps the solution is, at least for me, to change the routine.

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