The Day I Got To Work On Time
One day last week, I managed to get to work on time.
Now, for ordinary people, this is not news. I realize that. But my job as the Head of Wardrobe at a theatre is not really all that ordinary and neither am I.
I work every day like most people, and I often work anywhere from 40 to 80 hours a week depending on how busy we are. But last week, we were the complete opposite of busy, which makes me want to dig my eyeballs out with a spoon.
I am really bad at getting myself to bed at night, so getting to work at a certain time in the morning when no one cares if I’m there or not is more than difficult. And since I have nothing interesting to do when I get there, it’s pretty much impossible.
Add that to the fact that I live my life in ADHDland and it becomes even more impossible not to hit the snooze button repeatedly.
Many people (sadly) see those who live in ADHDland as somehow damaged or defective and sometimes annoying. I try my best, give my all and make a real effort not be annoying. But if you are easily annoyed, bad tempered or impatient I’ll annoy you anyway, and I can’t do anything about that.
But while I fail miserably at certain things, I excel in ways that more than make up for what I’m lacking.
According to me.
It is common, though of course not a rule, for those who live in ADHDland to be really dysfunctional in the morning, and I am no exception.
So I set simple goals that I can achieve so that I don’t feel like a total loser. I never remember to write these down and if I do I tend to forget to look at the list.
The goals are as follows.
- Get out of bed. 20 points
- Feed the cat and cuddle for a few minutes so that he doesn’t torture me more than necessary at night. 10 points for remembering to feed him. 2 for cuddling because he pretty much makes me do that.
- Shower if I have to, (but it is best not to strain myself so I try to do that in the evening.) Brush teeth and wash face. 15 points for showering. 10 each for teeth and face.
- Put some sort of clothes on. Clean is best and I’m pretty good at that. Matching socks are optional. 10 points
- Do not get side-tracked by the internet. 25 points (This is super-hard.)
- Leave my apartment. 8 points because I always do eventually and that makes an even 100
That’s 6 things and 6 things are really hard for me to do without walking into walls or tripping over my own feet. This routine does not take more than 20 minutes most days which is good because the longer I spend at home, the more I risk complete distraction and/or injury.
If I manage to do all of these things without any mishaps, I’m off to a good start. I don’t actually add the points up because I can’t speak in the morning so I’m not about to waste my time trying to do math.
By the time I’ve walked my 45 minutes to work, my brain is pretty online and I am capable of doing normal morning things like putting on makeup without losing an eye, boiling water for instant oatmeal and making coffee. I am also capable of speech by this point, so I make up for lost time, if there happens to be anyone around to talk to. (I still avoid math though I’m good by about 11:00 AM).
So the other day, I scored 75 points as I didn’t need to shower and I brushed my teeth at work which doesn’t get any points.
I would have made it to my desk with coffee in hand at 9:00 am which is a miracle because I got out of bed at 8:05. I’m still impressed.
The only problem was that I had forgotten my keys.
Fortunately, another co-worker was able to let me into my shop, and I stayed there, tethered to my desk for an hour until my boss arrived and loaned me a set so that I could move around the theatre. It was a brutal hour. I do not like to be tethered.
The good news is, that while I am usually pretty impressed at my ability to show up to work with keys almost all of the time, I’m not so good at remembering them every other time I leave my apartment, so I keep a spare set of apartment keys in my wallet or I would be locked out constantly. At least I knew I would be able to get into my home at the end of the day.
As I mentioned, we’re not all that busy at the moment, (next week will more than make up for it) so I spent most of the day contemplating how much of my ADHD is a problem because it actually screws up my life and how much of it is a problem because other people say that I should be able to fold myself up into some tiny box of normal that I clearly can’t fit into. I wouldn’t really want to if I could.
I’m contemplating the years of expensive therapy that saved my life but didn’t re-wire my brain enough that I can make doing my dishes a habit. And I’m thinking that not being an anxious, suicidal, depressed human without an ounce of self-esteem trumps a clean kitchen any day.
The night before I got to work on time, I actually managed to do all of my dishes in one focused attempt while practising singing, and I started to think that I might be my very own super-hero.
It might be a while before this happens again. But more and more I’m beginning to think it doesn’t matter. I’m not living in filth, I’m just slightly behind. Almost all of the time.
I’ve been feeling bad about this inability to keep things in order since I was a child, and yet more than 20 years of trying to fix this has led to some improvement but hasn’t eradicated the issue.
At some point in the last couple of years I realized that I was sick and tired of feeling bad about myself!
So I stopped.
Whenever I find myself worrying about things that I struggle with I ask myself, “Am I hurting anyone?” And I’m not.
Then I take a look at all of the things that I have accomplished and overcome, and the things I’m doing today. If I look in the mirror and there is still a good person staring back. Things are as they should be.
It doesn’t mean that we stop trying. I will not stop trying to become more organized. But I’ve decided to stop feeling bad about what I don’t do well, and I no longer base my self-worth on other people’s standards. Even if I would love to reach some of those standards in my life.
So, this leaves me wondering. How much of our lives do we spend worrying about things that really don’t matter? How much of what we worry about is really just a reaction to judgement from others? More importantly; Who would we be if just let some of those concerns fall away and instead made the choice to accept ourselves where we are, and as we are today and worked at personal growth?