I rarely blog(partially because I mostly stink at it)… but here’s a topic that popped into my little bean some weeks ago.
I don’t know if these thoughts will resonate with anyone out there in interwebs-land, but I just felt like jotting this down, in the event someone stumbles upon it, and tosses me a “oh man, me too!”
The brain is an amazing thing, it really is. Here’s just a short list of things we know about the brain.
Here’s a little bit about my brain, and how it tends to work.
Something that has been a part of my makeup for some time now, is a desire to do…many things.
What do I mean? I mean there seems to be a sort of semi-constant running list of things I’d like to do: “things” being endeavors, pursuits, hobbies, vocations…etc
While that in itself doesn’t sound particularly remarkable, it can have the effect, as in my case, of rendering the individual unable to properly focus his or her attention on any one “thing”, and pursue that thing to it’s fullest.
A partial list that comes to mind(not in any particular order) for me of things I’ve personally either started, done partially, done for a short time, thought about doing, spent significant time researching, really thought about doing, or dreamed of doing would be:
- salt water fishing
- a comedy audio-blog featuring Maine-based characters
- a motorcycle repair business
- rural church planting
- attend seminary/online biblical training
- be a ship captain
- Christian counseling
- designing stomp pedals for guitar
- join/form a band(Celtic, blues…)
- starting an IT consultancy
- purchase Canadian maritime real-estate
- becoming a landlord
- owning a recording studio
- building celtic harps
- making Irish whistles
- making Uilleann pipes
- making Highland pipes
- becoming a security guard
- becoming a Maine game warden
- joining in the building of/running of an airsoft field
- learning Irish
- learning Scottish gaelic
- working in some govt covert/security capacity
- becoming involved in local politics
- restoring a 1984 Corvette
- become a state-side sales liaison/import master to a well known Italian armorer
- join the SCA
- have a business selling wooden shields
- form a regional Uilleann piping club
- join a Scottish Pipe band
- learn Uilleann pipes
- learn Highland pipes
- have a business repairing band/ethnic instruments
- make a bodhran
- learn the bodhran
- move to Massachusetts to join a Christian Theater company
- start a local musical theater, featuring Christian oriented/family-friendly shows
- join the Civil Air Patrol
- have a firearms business
- own a large house/property in the country and have a program for urban children to spend a weekend there
- own a large house/property in the country and adopt more kids/foster parent
- write a book
- lead worship at church
- move to Montana
- move to California
- move to Canada
- move to Colorado
- move to Ireland
- move to downeast Maine
- get an anchor tattoo
- market/sell a friends artwork
- seek a Knighthood
- make swords
- make chain-mail
- have a piano-tuning side-business
- grow my hair out(e.g. ponytail length)
- work from home
- paint using oils/acrylics
- draw in pencil
- do calligraphy
- attend Highland games
- hunt deer
- learn to sail
- buy a boat
- make smoking pipes
- lead a mens ministry
- own a small farm
- make wine
- make beer
ok, that’s enough for now…you get the point: lots of ideas percolating…some worthy of my time and within reach, others …not so much
But here’s the thing, and I credit my astute wife for coming up with this ‘diagnosis’ of sorts:
“By choosing a thing, that means I can’t choose another!”
So then, what often happens is, an idea, a desire, a passion to do something never goes anywhere, or not far because by choosing that thing, I would be doing so to the exclusion of another! And the result can very easily be a spinning of my wheels, not able to get out of my own way, trying to figure out what to do: perhaps not moving in any one area with solid purpose or passion.
I will say this about things like hobbies however, and again I credit my astute wife for putting some framework around this idea/reality: once we realized that this seemed to be the way my brain works, instead of being discouraged and feeling aimless about not settling into/finishing any one thing, we would just proceed with the assumption that I’ll pursue a number of things, and will likely bounce around from thing to thing. This way of thinking really has helped both of us. I feel less hopeless that I’ll figure out what I’m supposed to be doing, or ever finishing something , and she doesn’t have to lose her sanity trying to play catch-up with my pursuits!
Case in point: I have started constructing an Uilleann pipe chanter. It’s been started, but hasn’t seen much action in the past several weeks, while I focus on other life things.
Another: I have a decent amount of time invested in making medieval-style wooden shields. I even sold a couple. But I haven’t done much with them for some months.
Another: I have equipment that allows me to multi-track record, and produce a record. I did complete a(somewhat bizarre & eclectic) project CD in 2010(Songs to code by), but haven’t seriously worked at the craft since, in any depth of focus.(though I do have a very cool idea for a concept album)
I have a set of artist pencils, paints, charcoals that have sat for who knows how long…
I haven’t seriously practiced my uilleann pipes for literally years
But with any or all of these, I know that I’ll at some point, end up picking these things back up for a time, setting them aside for other pursuits, and so it goes on and on.
One only has so much time… and I would rather not spend it any more foolishly than I have already, so I have to constantly consider what to do…or not do.
One last note before I close out.
I was seeing a counselor(PHD) a few short years back, and among some other things we discussed, was my seemingly never-ending wandering of the mind, and an almost inability to stay focused on things, not to mention struggles to focus at work(IT). A fellow blogged once that he felt like his brain was “always trying to tune in dozens of radio stations at once“. Boy, did that resonate with me when I first read that!
Anyway, the counselor took me through a multi-week ‘diagnostic instrument’ whereby he probed with questions, proposed hypotheticals, delved into life experiences etc. In the end, he told me that I had scored “very high on the adult ADD spectrum”. (there are elements of ADHD as well,though not the hyper kind of thing most people associate with ADHD)
I felt a sense of relief, in hearing that I at least had something that we could name, or at least partially ‘blame’ for how I am. That’s not to say there’s no hope for movement/improvement in this area: especially where we know that the brain CAN continue to learn even as we grow older. BTW, there are of course a myriad of things that might go into just why a person might display these traits/patterns of thinking etc, but that’s for another post someday…
Well, there you have it. There is so much more I could type on these ideas..but I’ll save it for a rainy day..meanwhile, I think I’ll take up Japanese book binding!