The King of Side-Jobs: Bad Dad

…I don’t want to become the bad dad.

It seems like I read a lot of “don’t be defined by your job” or “unfortunately, the first question asked upon meeting someone new is ‘so what do you do for a living?'”

“But Bryan, the work I do doesn’t really define me.”

Well, maybe you’re doing the wrong thing.

My current work situation probably hits closer to the definition of me than any other snapshot in time. I’m teaching, writing music and sharing my spirituality. A few weeks ago I configured a network, this week I’m doing web design, and next week I might do some software testing. This is a perfect definition of how bad my ADHD really is.

In my adolescence (some would argue that I’m still there), one of the biggest aids to productivity, progress and success was structure. “Bryan needs rules and framework to work effectively.” Sometimes I feel like working effectively meant producing black and white cows.

A simple example: In High School, just after diagnosis, I was regularly dosed with time-released Ritalin. The point was to get me to focus on one task at a time and finish it. As a member of the Jazz Ensemble (and coming from a family who reared talented jazz musicians), one of my favorite things was jazz and blues improvisation. While my medicine was doing its thing to get me to focus, I couldn’t find my zone while playing piano. Off the medicine, improvisation was creative, fun and entertaining. It was different enough that others could tell.

Ritalin was structure. Specific rules about when homework or chores needed to be done were structure. Getting a job with a large corporation: structure. Structure is necessary for me to overcome my obstacle. Disciplining myself to create my own framework, rules, and protocol to provide this structure is even better.

So now I have systems. They don’t kill my creativity. They don’t keep me in a 4’x4′ box all day. But I’ve learned how to effectively manage multiple side-jobs quite effectively. Then my systems break down.

It’s hard to put your family in a system.

The wires in my brain need to be shorted out because I haven’t been able to systemize the #1 priority in my life on earth. It isn’t a chore, it isn’t work. It’s one of my favorite things in the world to play with my daughters. It’s really difficult, however, to remember in the midst of getting things done, that soon my little girls aren’t going to be so little anymore. It’s time I can’t get back. Most of the work things I do aren’t time critical. I really think it’s the act of checking an accomplished task off a list that pushes me towards urgency.

Time to reprogram the noodle. I’ve been doing hypnotherapy for weight-loss (I’ve lost 10 pounds in less than a month). I’m thinking about getting the hypnotist to work on relaxing my sense of urgency.

I believe it’ll help me out a lot.

And now it’s time to go play kitchen with a wonderful toddler.

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