It’s time for another What Works for You post. I’m going change things up a bit today though. Instead of picking a topic to chat about, I thought I would share with you where the idea for this came from. You see, I am passionate about organizing, in all areas of life, not just our stuff. I think in some ways I always have been, but I didn’t always know it. So, today, I’m inviting you to take a trip down memory lane with me. This isn’t an easy post to write, but I feel as though it is one I need to see finished.
There are moments in life that can alter our course on this journey. Sometimes they are big moments, high school graduation, getting married, having a child. These moments are sort of like the beginning of new chapters in the story of our lives. They move the story forward, in ways that we feel, see and pay attention to. They are moments we will never forget. But like all the great stories, our lives are full of other moments, quieter moments. The side line plots that we don’t understand or realize the importance of until we view them through the lens of hindsight. They resonate in our souls in quiet ways, preferring to stay in the back ground, until we pull them out and see, with blazing clarity, the path they sent us down. My journey to finding what works for me started with one of these moments.
It was a sunny, September afternoon, back in 2006. Our Teen, then 8, was at school for the day, I was just nearing the three month mark of my pregnancy with Liam and we had recently moved into a new home. On that particular day I was at home, unpacking. I shudder to think of what unpacking used to look like for me. Empty a box, walk aimlessly around the house trying to decide where to put the contents, only to decide to leave them in a pile and move on to another box … not a pretty sight. We’d been in our new home for a couple of weeks and I still had a lot to unpack.
During my aimless meanderings, my Dad stopped by. I remember so clearly, being puzzled as to why my Dad would be stopping by on a work day. We sat outside in the sunshine, and talked. My Dad shared with me a conversation he had had with an associate. You see, this associate had a grown up son, who had just been diagnosed with ADD, and he had been telling my Dad about all the positive changes he was seeing in his son. He told my Dad about some of the challenges and struggles they had endured as a family, and how he wished he had known more about ADD when his son was younger.
I remember feeling confused about why my Dad was sharing this with me, but I also remember feeling like this was something very important to my Dad. I mean he came out to my house in the middle of a work day, so there must be something more or something I was missing. I didn’t connect the dots, heck, I didn’t even see the dots, but I was starting to feel a little uneasy.
We talked for quite a while that afternoon. After sharing some stories, and some of the information he had gathered, my Dad very gently brought up the reason for his visit. My Mom and him had been talking about this quite a bit, and taking a few trips down memory lane while they were at it. They both felt that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to look at the possibility that I might have ADD.
I was a little shell-shocked by that announcement, and I wanted so badly to voice an immediate denial. My best friend had been diagnosed with ADD back in our teen years, I witnessed the struggles she went through every day because of that disorder. I never had to go through anything like that. I knew that my parents were looking for a reason as to why I was the way I was. Scattered brained, clutter bug, creative spirit, were all terms I had heard used to describe me as I was growing up. I knew how to clean and organize a home, but something always came up and things got put off. A new idea, a craft, family time, couple time, a good book, the list was endless. Or I could spend the whole day working on the home, be exhausted at the end of it, look around and see no real change, especially when it came to the organizing part. Yet, at work, I could and did organize the entire tech room for my students so they could spend less time looking for things and more time working on fixing computers. I could keep my desk neat and tidy and all my supplies had homes they lived in. I knew I mystified my parents, family and friends, but ADD was not the answer. I was pretty sure it was just plain laziness at home.
My Dad left me with a book, “You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Crazy, or Stupid?” by authors Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo, and I decided not to wait to start reading it. I went inside and put the kettle on. I was going into battle, and a cup of tea was just the armor that I needed. While it steeped, I gathered up my weapons; pen, pencil, notebook, page flags, highlighter, and post-it notes. I sat down to begin systematically finding all the evidence I needed to prove that this was NOT me. I wasn’t that far into the book when the shift happened. The words I was reading touched a part of me deep inside. A piece of who I was that had been quietly waiting for someone to notice it. I found part of myself in that book. Instead of finding proof that there was no way I could possibly be affected by this disorder, I found answers to questions I didn’t even know I was asking.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that one conversation started me on a journey to finding myself. The whole me! The weeks and months that followed were kind of scary, full of big changes in our lives, challenges, and wonderful moments, inwardly I was slowly embracing this new way of looking at my life. I learned it wasn’t the negative I thought it was, but a positive that I could use for a spring-board. It’s a journey I will never stop, it has no end, and that’s ok with me.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. You might be wondering why I’m sharing this with you now. Well, you see the first and biggest lesson I had to learn when it came to living my life with ADD, is that I needed to find what worked for me. Conventional methods don’t always work. And the more I explored this concept, the more I understood, that thinking outside the box can be a very good thing, the more I realized that this doesn’t just apply to people with ADD. This applies to everyone! We don’t all think the same way. Our lives do not progress the same way, and that is the beautiful thing about life. We’re all different. Finding the methods, systems, schedules, etc … that work best for you and your family may mean they look different from how I do it, and that’s wonderful. And that, my friends, is where the WWFY series stems from; from a desire to help others find the way that works for them.
The story doesn’t end there, but this post is super long, and if you’ve made it to the end, then thank you very much for reading.
Do you ever look back at moments in your life, and see them for game changers they really were?