Friday, January 20, 2023

goodness, the battle with clutter, living with ADHD

 Things are hard- and yet simple things are still good. Like a new place in the kitchen to put books and baskets of shoes and fruit and tea tins, and morning sun. A place too high for a young puppy to jump up to in one bound to sit in the window. (We'll have to find another window seat for his survellience activities). 

Or looking down through the woods from the window where I write and seeing beech leaves in their winter tans and creams and pale gold that cling until the new green comes. Loblolly pines at the highest tier, needles against the sky, and the bare branches of oaks and hickories and tulip poplars just below. Birds like this side of the house and up and down the trunks of trees hop pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers and three species of nuthatch, not to mention upmteen squirrels with waggling tails. 

Back in my kitchen under the south window all my teaboxes are lined up- I may have a tea collecting problem but this makes me happy.

I'm glad simple things make me happy. It feels like an enormous gift in life, to be easily satisfied. 

Several weeks ago in my my frustration with my perpetual inattention, I began reading a book on life skills for people with ADHD and I asked my husband if there was one household life problem area that he dislikes that I could use as a way to apply and practice said skills and make our domestic life nicer in the bargain. He pointed out my well-marked trail- yes, it's easy to track exactly where I've been because I have the very common to ADHDers habit of being totally unaware when I have something in my hand and not mentally registering that I am placing it on a surface and leaving it there. Which leads to clutter and the never-ending hunt to find lost things because how can one remember where they've put something when they put it down completely absent-mindedly?  

It turns out there is something beneficial about asking for one thing I can work on. It's better to take initiative than to be complained to about something. The brain feels more motivated to try to change, somehow. It also helps to have a patient spouse that will applaud my efforts and patiently turn a blind eye to my failures. He's had a lot of practice in the blind eye department over the years. 

In any case, these nice pretty domestic photos I've posted today are evidence of several weeks of progress. I still put things down and leave them, but I'm getting into a habit of scanning for my clutter during little moments when I have a break- like waiting for the tea water to boil and the leaves to steep. Things being clean and pretty are good for my mental health, too. Less clutter somehow makes my mind feel less cluttered. 

There are much bigger and harder things going on around here that I want to "solve" more than my life-long clutter habit. I've been trying to get a handle on my clutter issues since at least kindergarten and why now, of all times, should I read something and a change happen in my brain that actually results in progress? The weeks are young, however and I must admit that I've only read the first two chapters of that life-skills book, forgetting about its existence completely while reading at least three other books, starting a slide-scanning project, an art project, a new puppy project, and binging on a new K-drama TV series while sick in bed. It's frankly amazing that this clutter-scanning in my free moments strategy has been remembered so well while totally losing track of what started it in the first place. 

Truth be told, for all the trouble and frustration ADHD may cause me, I think there's a benefit to being so easily distracted. There are so many good and interesting and fun and beautiful things in the world to be distracted by, and I'd be sad if that wasn't so, if I couldn't notice them because I was being so steadfastly practical and focused on whatever task I'd set for myself. Yes, I'd like to pay better attention to the conversations happening right now, but I don't want to miss the black-capped chickadee saying "dee, dee, dee" in the tree nearby on a frosty morning and the cry of the red-shouldered hawk looking for breakfast. 

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