“As ancestors of the dead prepare the bodies, they offer rice balls to their souls, as sustenance for the journey to the world of fathers.”
There I was, halfway through a lecture on ancient Hindu death rites, wondering how the hell I had fallen so deep into something I disliked so much. Practically speaking, I knew full well I’d registered myself, a college student with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), for this course. But I’d be damned if I could remember what fleeting conversation, article, or Instagram post had made this sound like a good idea.
In my defense, theorizing on otherworldly ideas has always been my cup of tea, all the way back to my toddler days. While others played freeze tag and watched cartoons, I stared into the depths of my galactic wallpaper, closely examining the planets of our solar system. I found it all so fascinating — and terrifying — that I tore it down. All those questions and possibilities with no end. Soon after, I ventilated into a paper bag because my parents couldn’t tell me what was inside a black hole. At that point, I suspect they would’ve jumped in to find out.
While my inquisitive and curious mind helped me stay receptive to differing perspectives and worldviews growing up, it’s also kept me from firmly planting my feet and heading in one single direction. Much of this struggle can be traced back to my ADHD, but knowing that hasn’t paved my circuitous path with roses.
The ‘should’ side of my brain says, “Pick one thing you want to do for the rest of your life.”
The ‘want’ side of my brain is paralyzed. I can’t even map out a good to-do list; how am I supposed to figure out the rest of my life?
Over the years, I’ve had numerous interests and passions. But not a single one has captured my undivided energy and attention, because the thought of missing out loomed too large and too dark. I love to start things. (“I’m not getting married; just having a fling.”) The rush of excitement and confidence that comes with exploring a new vocation, sport, or community pervades my body, I’m elated. “I think this is the one. This is my passion,” I tell myself.
One week I later, I’ve found something more interesting.
Truth be told, I never noticed anything unusual about my incredible ability to change direction until friends started pointing it out. “I can’t keep track. You wanted to be a personal trainer last week, now you want to be a rock star. Which one is it?” Beneath the layer of indecision and confusion, I wanted badly to “figure it out.” Whatever that took. The problem was that I was terrified to commit.
And now I find myself wondering: Was I, in fact, doing nothing?