6:06PM Apr 10, 2020
Lee Skallerup Bessette
So welcome to all the things ADHD podcast. I'm your co host, Lee Skallerup Bessette.
I am speaking simultaneously, Amy Morrison, did you think
I saw you out of the corner of my eye? And I'm like, I didn't pause her to say it's all pause now for you to say it.
Oh. never get tired of that.
Everybody was tired of that. I am not. No, I'm not tired of it either. It's great. I mean, we don't have a theme song. So it's the closest thing we have a book. Yeah, we have a theme bit in that. Yeah. So. So we are back again with another COVID-19 pandemic, season 1.5 episode of all things ADHD and your tone
of voice is perfect. Your tone of voice right now we is perfect for what we want to get to today, which is does any of this matter?
I know, right? We here.
What are we doing?
We wanted to talk a little bit about how can we focus our highly distractible, ADHD brains on the tasks that need doing in our work when so much of real life feels so much more urgent, right? Never like nevermind, loud, like we've been talking about, but also feels more important. And also, there's a kind of sense of on weed that maybe infects us when we sit down to try to do the main jobs of our sort of work from home work. And we, as we do manage to focus on it, we feel like, this is kind of a bullshit task. That doesn't matter. Why am I doing
this at all? Let alone now.
And I think that tone really came through in your interview like,
here we are again
for another week. COVID-19 podcasting, so why don't you tell me where your tone is coming from this week. Leave this.
I just did. There's there's a The adrenaline had is worn off, right? The urgency in the emergency that has taken place because of my job. Has it sort of dissipated now? Right? Like everybody's online. Everybody's moving through everybody's fine ish, right? Like, there isn't that rush in that crush that there was for the for the past three weeks right so it's been a month it's gonna be a month at the end of this week.
Great. So probably experiencing like a little bit of like we talked about in our first COVID episode, that natural crash that happens to you after a period of hyper focus that happens to all of us right after we push through our limits to get through as you call it, the urgency and the emergency which feels so great and important while we're doing it, but which leads to a kind of like psychic and physical crash. Once it's passed, like I think I think you're, you're quite
having that but all
as you say like now the emergency remote teaching is now Just like sub optimal remote teaching, like it's not an emergency anymore, people have kind of cobbled their whatever together and now they're just doing like okayish job of trying to get through the rest of whatever for however long so it doesn't really have like an endpoint and there's nothing like new to do now. It's just like kind of maintain minimal function. And I think maybe not a great place for us to be sitting in.
Right? Well, no, and and I think that a lot of us have now had time to sort of sit back and reflect and think, and some people are overthinking things, and some people are under thinking things. And, you know, there's so so it's, again, when you're when you're working on a on a team and you're working in a collaborative environment. You know, we're we're just sort of all trying to deal you know, we're all human beings. We're all trying to deal with our new normal ADHD or not, we're all coming down off of that sort of crisis. Hi. We were all, you know, suddenly found ourselves essential services, which were like, Oh, really? When did that happen? Where we've we've gone back to the normal. And so what do you what do you do when you go from being like, the most important people on campus? Back to your usual like, oh, we're just dust, we're just like, this is what we do. You know, and so that's that's kind of a strange space to be in as well. And you're right, like now that the crisis is over all of those other things that we sort of had to set aside. They don't go away. Right. And so they're and they're just as boring as they ever work. Yeah. And they're just, but but even perhaps, like you said, more like that. It seemed important at the time, and now you're like, why are we doing this? Like, why
why people are dying. Why am I verifying the timestamps on student submissions? Right?
Yeah, who cares? Yeah, don't care. Yeah. And and so that can be really disorienting, right? Like it, I find I find it at times a little disorienting. And as my ADHD brain is like new and novel, it's like, who this is really not important. Like, why? What are you trying to make me do here? Like, and I'm like, I don't know. I'm sorry.
Yes, I guess it's a little bit like, if like everyday life with trying to address these rote tasks is like being asked to put down Candy Crush to like write an email, maybe in your sort of post emergency crash. It's like you're being asked to jump off a roller coaster halfway through the ride and sit down and write an email, it's like does not really feel like the level of adrenaline that you have accustom yourself to the excitement level is not there, and maybe that lack of excitement in a task that itself hasn't changed, right. But your expectation of your daily adrenaline boost up level, right, which is like taking an extra Adderall. Yeah. That that that you when you get yourself used to running at kind of that higher pitch of excitement. Even if it burns you out physically, it also sets a kind of emotional tone that you come to expect. And it's really hard to, to go back to kind of like the normal, steady pace of doing regular, not urgent tasks when you just have done something so exciting. That is also exhausted you so that you probably would be in the best place to start something boring again anyways. Right? Yeah. And yet we continue.
Yep. Well, I think the other thing that and now that I'm thinking about I think the other thing that's really hard right now, is this shift to the back to normal feels so abrupt, in so far is that there hasn't really been an acknowledgment of what just happened. Right, right. Like it's sort of like, could could somebody sort of like note what we just did here and sort of have make time and space to sort of acknowledge that and and express some gratitude for it like The like, dislike, thanks a lot for saving the world. Now, timesheets, right,
so what you're saying like you're asking me for closure or some kind of acknowledgement, some kind of ritual or ceremony even right so, I mean, turns out rituals and ceremonies are very important in human society says the autistic person had to learn about this right that that when something important happens, we tend to mark it and extend it with with rituals, right like marriages begin with weddings, I mean, they don't have to, right you can just go sign some paperwork and embark upon a marriage, but they know it's a major transition. And people feel that they want to mark it right, with a ceremony that brings people together and an acknowledgement of the types of efforts and commitments being made. And somehow that makes it more real, right. Similarly, funeral, right, so that when, when someone dies, there's nothing you can do for that person afterwards. But it is very healing to the people who have suffered a loss to be able to participate in a kind of ritual acknowledgement of the ending of something in mutual support, right, the sharing of casseroles or even the sharing of memories and, and to come together and construct something new in the very act of acknowledging the thing that has ended, right. And oh, if we like go through this crisis where you know, life as we know, it was very much disrupted, and we all had to bring our office chairs home on the metro and everybody's like, you know, bought the noise cancelling headphones to block out their kids who are now taking courses through the computer, and then they're like, okay, but now timesheets, and you're like, whoa, whoa. But like, yeah, where's my commemorative t shirt?
Yeah. Right. where like, I survived. Yeah, actually, by Mike. So my dad worked has worked for us or for Canada. And he had worked through a number of sort of natural disasters, one of which was the ice storm. Another which God This was even further in the 80s. Montreal completely flooded. Like everything just was flooded out and He he was stuck at work for like four days or something like that. And they caught something that commemorated that for America, Canada, right, like your Canada commemorated, like thanking them and saying you, you know, pitched in thank you for your service, which he, you know, very cynically because, you know, work there for a long time and didn't really like his job all that much. So we're sort of very cynical about it. But if they still took the time, and did that and took the time to make that acknowledgement for those employees who, you know, were stuck at work, or who did take on double, triple, quadruple shifts, because they could.
Yeah, I mean, I wonder, I wonder how many of us are kind of not really realizing it, but experiencing that kind of letdown, too, right? where, you know, like on my fridge. Now, we have a little whiteboard with the days of the week written on it, and everybody's pre scheduled video conferences are up on that board. So let's like our normal now, right, like I have this with you on Thursdays at 3am. My husband has a standing meeting with his boss on one and my daughter has like her karate, whatever. And that's like kind of become a new, normal instead of us like working so hard together to figure out, like, what's going to happen when and what technologies we need for this and like what heroic measures Do we need to undertake to transport our work lives from the office to home or transport school, from the classroom to our house, and, you know, all that work that we did has now led us to a place that has become routine, right? And, and but the routine is still different from what we're used to. And, and I wonder how many of us got through that rush of desperately figuring out how it was all going to work. I mean, even if we're not in a position like you where you actually did have like crisis, things to do to keep the organization going. I mean, I didn't write but I still had to figure out how I was going to move everything into my house and there's a certain amount of like rush and dizziness and problem solving and urgency and challenge and knowledge to the unimportant to that and now I'm like answering emails for my grad students all day, which I would have been doing anyways, but I Wouldn't be stuck in my house while doing it. Do you what I mean? So I wonder if there's like going to be emerging from most people probably a new kind of malaise that comes from. I'm not even actually terrified anymore. I'm just like, now I'm just stuck in my house. Yeah, working, sort of right. Like, that is I mean, none of us can get done. And if you don't normally work from home, there's a reason that you work in an office, right? And so the reasons that you need to be in the office are not going to disappear just because you brought your desk chair home. So we're not working optimally at home, most of us and the sense of, of crisis and all pulling together in terms of what we do for our jobs, has dissipated, even though the kind of pandemic emergency still continues, but the way that we're meant to deal with that emergency is by doing nothing to just stay home, right. And it's not even like and the number of deaths have been like reduced by 80% because of your efforts or like the number of deaths is climbing less slowly, right. So
there is Yeah,
no closure, no payoff. It's sort of business as usual, but 20% worse, and we don't get to see our friends. And we're probably some of us feeling a bit adrift and not knowing that maybe we need those rituals of acknowledgement or closure. Or maybe, maybe we're starting to like to work on some of these jobs that now we're able to do at home without being panicked about them and think like, you know, why? Why am I so excited about this, like, proctored, timed, synchronous exam? Was that ever really something I needed? Right? Or like, like in my department, now we're handing in all of our paperwork with like, email approvals, like I approve this student's progress report where before, we just have to go in and sign a piece of paper, because somehow the wet signature was like, very, very important to have and now Yeah, and I guess there's like a bunch of thing. We're like, why do we even do this at all? Not like, why did we do it this way? It's like, why don't we do it at all? Nothing matters, right? Everything. We're all gonna die. You know, having Easter candy? I'm not allowed to go outside my work means nothing. And yeah, they've done it with an email.
And and no one's hiring mixture. No, like everybody's freezing their hiring next year. So if the academic job market was bad enough already now it's worse. Now it's worse now. And is there even going to be it? You know, like, what, what colleges are going to close and what our state budgets going to be like? And how's public support for higher education going to be impacted by this? And like, Oh, yeah,
and the University of Arizona philosophy department just withdrew its offers,
well withdrew the financial
component of its offers to incoming PhD students are like, so we can't take away your offer of admission, but we've taken away your funding, which we understand is tantamount to like taking away your offer of admission. So now like everybody to Arizona and all these graduate students are like, Wait, what? Yeah. Now what am I going to do, but well, you can call them but we're not going to pay anything for you. But maybe don't come because we don't know how many undergrads are going to have that we would need you to ta for. Anyways, so like, what is the meaning of doing a PhD? Do we have any program? left? Are we going to have any undergrad students like what's happening? We're going to be on campus again. And if we could just run everything without ever coming to campus, then what's that campus for? Like, I mean, like, you can really go down a rabbit hole here. And preparation is one of my key strengths is enough to stick around, I can really dig into this and keep digging until I was so far underground that i've you know, hit the molten core at the center of some geography thing that I don't understand, because I'm a humanities major, right? Yeah. So how can we stop ourselves maybe from spinning out into this PR separating existential dread about the meaningless of everything? And like answer our emails, we how do we do that?
Well, one thing that I've done and I've talked about this is that I try to have it's not a daily writing practice, but it's pretty much a daily writing practice where I'm going to blog about something about, you know, the most mundane and and something I want to I actually, it wasn't purposeful. But now that I'm reflecting on it, I almost always am blogging about something relatively Monday, right. So like baking bread, the desk that I'm working on looking at the pink moon Full Moon the other night and just trying to be present and look at the sky and just focus on what the sky looks like, or you know, what this desk means or what? Bread you know what baking bread means, or you know, and so that really helps me get a little bit more grounded. I think in in a lot of ways that it's really helped me be grounded, it's given me an outlet. It's helped me sort of narrow and direct my thoughts so they aren't as scattered that is just by writing through them to make sense, but through this lens of this thing that I'm just going to focus on On, right and think about and, and sort of free associate until I get to like, Okay, this is what's really now
you're suggesting there's a little bit like a mindfulness practice of self exploration, but also a kind of like focus on material minutiae, right. So maybe I'm like proposing the emails are the problem because they're meaningless. But you're like, maybe if you just pick it off one email at a time, right? Meaning kind of a cruise through focusing on the little thing that you can do right now. And if you have if I just concentrate on answering my emails, maybe I won't spin out this existential dread about what does it all mean, right? Like it is. This is a panic abatement strategy that that therapists recommend, right? If you feel a panic attack coming on, you need to look at something that's directly in front of you. You need to notice three things that are directly in front of you need to take a deep breath, and notice your breath and you need to listen for four different sounds that are around you. Right and that practice is about bringing you back into the immediate sensory physical moment that you are living through right now instead of, well, you know, when your mind kind of hijacks you and throws you like into the future where like the building catches fire and everyone gets trapped because there's not enough doors like for example, or at least kind of like irrational panic attacks. Yes. Yeah. Right? You know, the trap door of existential nihilism, right? That sometimes opens up when you contemplate your to do list and none of it seems to matter at all right? But if you can bring yourself back into that moment, so like your practice is partially like through writing, right? Which is more exploratory but also through like baking bread, right? Yeah. New York Times calls us the sourdough classes, right. There's like people who zoom who make their own sourdough bread and pandemics right is a very particular class of people, but the type of person who's prey to these kind of existential moments of like,
Yeah, why? Which can be debilitating? Right. You can really protect yourself.
Yeah, I mean, I speak from experience. Yeah. Well, and I think the other thing But like, so let's let's think about the emails, right. In particular, and this is I'm trying to remember like for myself, what I try to remember is that there's another person on the end of that email, right? That even if the task itself is meaningless, the person who is sitting on the other side of that email has value Oh, right. And has put some sort of value into this right? Like they're, you know, that you don't want to get into the the, I don't want to say like, they're just doing their job, but they're trying to deal with the same sort of environment and the same sort of pressures and maybe even more pressures that we're dealing with. And this is something that they've been tasked to do that maybe they think is not the best thing or useful but this is what they have to do and this is their job and they appreciate that they have a job and that they want to keep having a job and right you know, there's this one of the things about the particularly like more bureaucratic Stuff like that we can be mad at the bureaucracy. But try to remember the individuals within that bureaucratic system
are just so I should not be like annoyed at the existential futility of the never ending stream of emails that I should consider each email then a window or a portal through to a human being who has a need. Yes,
We have to answer my emails.
I mean, no, because it's not like anybody.
but it's like I think I think of every deadline and I think of everyone sending out emails, reminding people of deadlines, and I think of, you know, and we all sort of are in this. I mean, you said this in one of our other ones like we're all behind. Yeah, right. We're all behind. And but I I think there's also something really helpful to me about a lot of this day, a lot of this stuff because we're moving along. And we're trying to regain some form of normalcy in these totally abnormal circumstances with an understanding that eventually this will end. And while things will have changed, they're not going to change so drastically that we're not going to have books or journals or, you know, institutions or governments that are coming, going to come and audit us. And so therefore, we do actually need to keep track of our of our receipts because, right, you know, eventually somebody might be like, hey, so all that money you spent during the pandemic, like where did that go? Where did you go? Yeah,
yeah. So you're saying it's like a snow day where like your report that was due like is not due because school is canceled, but like, eventually school will come back and that report will need to be submitted, right. Yeah, I mean, I guess Yeah, I've been trying to focus on that a little bit as I kind of bring myself back into the more bureaucratic aspects of my job, which like involves, you know, sending emails to groups of students about like, did you hand in your stuff or I have graded the things and if I don't have your thing you need to send it to me. And it just feels like a lot of work. I mean, I'm not good at that kind of work to begin with. But I am trying and I mean, maybe it helps that I don't have to go in all the time. So it's saving me a layer of annoyance there. But like another part of this that I've been struggling with as we've moved away from emergency and more to a new kind of status quo is that the tasks I am most interested in doing, like my my research and my writing, I'm having a lot of trouble bringing the requisite focus to that, right. So I don't want to do the tasks that aren't important because they seem even less important than they used to seem. But the things that I continue to think are important. I find it really hard to marshal the kind of focus in sustained attention that I would like to I am experiencing a lot of distracting thoughts around like well Oh, it's it's Good Friday tomorrow, the grocery stores gonna be close to me normally on Friday, so when we're going to go instead or like, Oh, I hear a weird noise coming into my kid's room isn't she supposed to be in class right now I should go check on her like, it's just like some of it is like actual physical stimulus that like is drawing my attention away but some of it is just mental chatter that I am having a harder time turning off than usual. And I imagine I'm not the only one experiencing that. Are you experiencing anything similar?
really I guess, that's really weird.
I don't know It's not weird at all. I just I'm sort of in an A space right now where I guess I'm between projects. So like, the the thing that I'm sort of most focused in working on is, is my blog and sort of that personal daily practice. But I mean, like I was supposed to have to. I was supposed to have to Book proposals, right? I was supposed to write two book proposals, and I can't, like I just can't bring myself to do them because I'm just like, I'm gonna write these and one of them is about the future of higher education. And I'm like, No,
yeah, no, I feel like a good time to throw your hat in that ring. Right? I predict that six months from now. Oh, sure. You did super.
No, I mean, I think that in a little bit I'll have a better idea of maybe what I could how I can incorporate all of this stuff but you know, I'm sort of like yeah, I don't I don't like this is this this the the way this was gonna go is not where it's going now like this is not so so for me it's a repositioning and are really like a realigning of of my projects because they are so related to what's going on and the other one was about like, what we can learn about teaching and learning and technology and digital pedagogy from various places and disciplines and fields and offices on campus that are all thinking about these things, but never talk to one another. We've had an unprecedented moment where we actually talk to one another momentarily. momentarily, because now it's over. But, but again, it's sort of rethinking what, how that experience informs what it is that I want to write. So I'm still, I'm at the point where I'm still trying to make make sense of all of this in terms of how it relates to my projects, because it relates to my projects. I almost wish I had a project that had nothing to do with this. Um,
I mean, I do write and I have this like 200 words leave, I need to write 200 words of an abstract for a piece that's already been accepted that I don't have to write for another year 200 words, and like the bar is really low here because the 200 words are just simply to send in like the blurb to the publisher, so they get a sense of the shape of the book. Like there's like literally like there's this not only a hard task to do, right? And there's not a lot of consequences to writing it one way or another. I mean, there are consequences to not writing it. And guess what I have chosen. I am not writing it writing. Like, every day I sit down, I think I'm just going to write this 200 word abstract for this thing, you know that the commissioning editor was like, You don't even have to do any research for this because I know you already know what you're going to write. And I do, and yet somehow, I can't write this 200 word abstract for I mean, this is bad for me, but I would really rather do my email, then.
I'm like, so you know, I'm like, really in a bad way here. Oh, my God. Yeah, no kidding. Yeah.
So maybe I'm like, I don't know if I'm having trouble like imagining, like a future that goes back to normal or if it's just that there is something really draining my focus that I'm not even aware as a background program running in my head. That's making it hard for me to just step in, do I mean, you know, like writing abstracts abstracts are the greatest abstract is like all hat and no head. It's all flash and no cooking, right? Like you just basically make some wild claims about what you're eventually going to have to spend eight months researching, right? But it's a glory moment where you get to like, and I will demonstrate this and you don't have to actually demonstrate you just tell people, you're gonna demonstrate it, right. It's the best, like, it's all personality, and I just can't bring myself to do it. I mean, I wonder how many of our listeners are in that boat too. Now they have like this free time, you know, where they don't have any on campus or at work obligations, and they're saving like they're commuting or they're like not going to a lot of meetings because all the in person stuff has been cancelled. I wonder how many people are sitting down going, ah, I'm gonna write my book and they're just not.
Well, I think there's been a lot of those memes going around. Right. And I think there is this there does need to still be an acknowledgement that this is not a holiday, right? We have no, absolutely no, you know, a vacation like this is not there. This comments that I've been one of those, those pedagogy groups online pedagogy groups that sprung up on Facebook because of this whole move online. And one of them was venting that, like they overheard, or they were told of a discussion that someone's parents were like, why are we still even paying the teachers? Right? Why are we still even paying the university staff and employees, they're not doing anything, everybody got sent home? And you're just like, work? Yeah, to work. Like I'm working more now. And I know a lot of people are too. And I think that that's the that's the sort of the thing that we have to give ourselves a break for, is the very fact that this as you said, This isn't normal. Right? This isn't our ideal circumstances to be able to be productive to get things done. Like from a distance. Yes. Oh, you're home all the time. And you can't go anywhere and you saved all your commute and you don't have all the yeah but I have my kids at home and I have to worry about About again, when to go grocery shopping. And when I do go grocery shopping, I have to worry about facemask. And when I do go you know all of these get like, these are all of the things that I that you still, that you on top of now have to worry about. Right. Plus the uncertainty of we don't know when this is going to end. Yeah. Right. So there's, there's a lot of we're, we're devoting particularly women, right? There's been a lot of that going around that we're we're making this thing run and we're not getting any credit for it. And we're doing all of the emotional when aspect of labor. Yeah. You know, and so no wonder you can't write 200 words. I mean, just all of the challenges that come already from the ADHD and then compound that with like you said, everything that's going on, it's it's, you know, it's no wonder, right? You know, it really is no wonder and so, I mean, what I would say for this particular
for this particular one
Tell a lien about the about your about your chapter and record it. And then that's your abstract.
Right? Yeah, that's a good trick. That's funny, because that's how I make her do her compositions for school to them, like just tell me and I type, right? Yeah. Yeah, have a conversation write it down.
Yeah, that's a good trick to
sometimes have to, like, fool ourselves into getting the work done. It doesn't have to be hard to do it right. If there's an easier way, I guess to get done the thing that I need to get done, I don't have to make myself do it the regular way. Because these are not regular circumstances. Right. So
yeah, I mean, even even even, like, just email your editor and be and you know, like they were saying, I know you can write this and you're like, Can we just talk about it though? Can we just have a 30 minutes? Like, it's a 15 minute conversation? Yeah. So I can just tell you once, what it is about, and then you write it down? And there's my answer. And it's, yeah, yeah. And basically, I'm asking you to help me trick myself into writing this abstract. Could you help me with that, like, any editor will be like, Uh huh.
Uh huh. Okay.
I will say, I've kind of started up right club again, nice Rei Club, which is my grad students I get together at my house, and we write in palms 30 minute blast with five minute breaks in between and 115 minute break where we 15 just to be clear that we play with the dog, we go inside and stuff and and so we're trying to get going on on zoom or some other kind of conferencing platform. And we tried one the other day. We set the timer for 30 minutes. And when we all came back, that one of my grad students was hosting the meeting said, Well, how did that feel? And one of the other students was like, Oh, that was really hard. And the host said, Well, I looked at the timer to make sure I didn't miss it going off and we had 20 minutes left. Right. So and I was like, Oh, God, me too, because like just trying to sit and concentrate for 30 minutes felt like such an unbelievably long amount of time because I got out of the habit of working in palms right blast. And somehow the three of us being together in this zoom call really just muted our audio and like left the video. So we were typing in our own, like whatever screens, but we could see each other in the sidebar,
just all of us typing,
that when the 30 minute timer went off, and we get to talk to each other about how we experienced it, it somehow was a relief that they found it incredibly long and hard as well. And it made the next problem easier, right? Yeah. But I like tell you, I would not have done it. If they hadn't been there. I would have like said I'm going to do it. And then I would have worked for three minutes. And then they checked my Facebook and then I would have worked for three minutes and then I would check what's on the New York Times and then it would have worked for three minutes and it would have been like two hours and I would not have got anywhere near as much done as I got in that 30 awful minutes. Right. So like maybe some of those tricks like you said that a fool ourselves into getting the work done. So how can we maybe begin to recreate in our isolated spaces some of the like social or practical support That we used to get the work done in the past rightly so. So what are you going to do with your like group that you used to go to the kitchen with in the morning to start your work day at work? Right? Like, was that an essential part of your daily productivity? And if it was, then how can you? How can you not replicate that? How can you build a version of that now, so that you're not forcing yourself to learn entirely new work habits at the same time as you're dealing with every other kind of change? That's happening?
Yeah. And I think, Well, I think the other thing that we have to take in to be mindful of, is that time now, so that we, like I said this the other day, so I shared this meme that was like, you know, before COVID-19, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then like, COVID-19, yesterday, not my day, some day, maybe I'm like, Great, so everyone's on ADHD time now. Good. So let's solve Talk about but I think that that's also something really jarring is that time has really shifted how like this whole thing is really shifted how we experience time. I even see it in my kids like my kids are adamant that I'll be like, what do you mean is Thursday? Right? Yeah, like and I'm like, I have to show my daughter my phone and be like, this is what day it is honey and she's like, You're lying. And I'm like, it says what day it is right? And my son is like, only reason I know it's what day it is, is because Tuesdays my enemy publishes like a new episode comes out. And so Tuesday is the only day knows I two weekends ago. You know, I slept in till like 10 like I slept in. gotta leave early, had a breakfast, started laundry, read a little looked at my watch and when it's only two, right, like, I've only been up for three hours and yeah, like I've had two weeks worth of leisure time, right? Yeah, it's just like How would How am I going to what am I going to do with the rest of the day? It's only two o'clock. And I think that we like we are all struggling with making sense of the flow of time now that we don't have those old routines right mark and demark the time
right like when my iCal is not pinging every hour saying you have 15 minutes to get to the next thing, right and then this thing and then your travel time is this many minutes go to this thing as far fewer things that are scheduled but like like you say, I don't even know what day it is. Yeah, the time right. And in effect, I was like very pleased with myself for what a great day I had on Monday where I like I got a good deal of work done and I did some homeschooling with my kid and we had some like high value interactions and I got some homemade food done and then I had a zoom, coffee, no zoom cocktail date with a friend I haven't spoken to in some time and I was like, wow, like what an accomplished human being. I am unlike my cocktail hour went right through my daughter's piano lesson that everybody forgot Like, email for the piano teacher, boy, I'm on Skype. Where are you? And I was like, shit.
Yeah, we just
forgot, right? And I was like, How could I forget? Because like, there's a number of other things that also only happened on Monday. And I managed to get all of those things done. But this last thing that happened on Monday, for some reason, this total brain fart, and it just kind of disappeared. Yeah, so time is like, just a series of grains of sand that endlessly pour out of different directions of the universe, and appear and disappear seemingly at random. It's very hard to measure, right?
Yeah. Well, and there's also the joke, you know, the other meme joke about like, we've just, we've just exited the 10,000 year period known as March to enter our next 10,000 year epoch. April, you know, like, and it does like before COVID It feels like three years ago, like it was like I remember when back when My kids were in school and was that like, I remember when I remember when, like our, I don't know. And there's, there's a joke on a podcast that I listened to. It's a sports podcast, right? It's a hockey podcast. And, you know, they were talking about there's this event that this big event that happened right before all of everything shut down where a like Zamboni driver was called into action as the emergency third backup goaltender you know, against his like childhood favorite team and Maple Leafs, and somehow they still met Maple Leafs even though like there was literally a 43 year old Zamboni driver still managed to lose the game. Right. And they were on the podcast that happened like when I was listening to the podcast that only happened like two and a half weeks previous. And when Yeah, and then we're like, are we is it what are the hosts was like, Is it too late for like the separate topic? And look back on that event two and a half weeks ago, and the other co host was like, hell, I'll take a retrospective sepia tone one about this morning like this, like when the sun came up
when this is when we had sports. Like,
Yeah, it feels like a really, really long time ago like, my husband and I already joking. It's gonna be our 15th wedding anniversary on April 25. And like, so we're gonna say like, that was the first 15 years but the second 15 years was like pandemic, right? Yeah, exactly. We've seen more of each other since like March the 13th. Then we saw each other in the previous 15 years, right? It was like yeah, you know, March 2020 has been the longest decade new millennia
faithful. That's it. That was the other thing is like I've been alive for. You know, I've been alive for five decades now. The 70s, the 80s, the 90s 2000s 2000 10s and march 2020 and march 2020. Right, like, that's like the you know, and and I think all that is Yeah, that that is we're all sort of struggling with making sense of time now, right? Um, that that is also something that maybe isn't even we're consciously processing so we have all this other stuff that we're sort of consciously worried about. But then our unconscious is very much more like his sort of processing like what is a minute anymore like one hour anymore what what is his time? Yeah What even his time and like and that's all going underneath like that isn't even an explicit conversation like that like just like underline where you're looking around and going like wait What is it? Wait what time so wait like it's just like
to summarize where we've been so far early space has no meaning because we're all trapped in our houses now. So our entire orientation to the world as a place in which we have mobility has been fundamentally disrupted. Time has no meaning because nothing is Sort of scheduled but things are scheduled, but March 2020, has lasted 45 years. And also the things to which we attach meaning have been fundamentally thrown into dispute as well, right? Like, does my job matter? You know, I don't make ventilators so no, right? Like this. So the kinds of things that like anchor us to reality in a way that allows human beings to find meaning and therefore purpose in the world, space, time, the things we do, all of those have been, like, thrown wildly into question in ways that they never have before. For most of us, right. And you were talking about mommy blogs last week, I think less Yeah. For and I was like, Oh, that's actually a lot like becoming somebody's mother for the first time. Right? Like you go from being like a human being, to being a pregnant human being, which is like a little bit of a shift but you're still your own person, but then, like, This baby is born. And you can't leave that house right and you have no friends anymore because that was a before a time when you went out with people. Like maybe like there is nothing quite so lonely. Like as having a new baby, nothing that you ate up roots, your sense of identity as suddenly not being the person you were, the minute before the child took its first breath to your entire reorientation of your life after and I remember that time as like as profoundly destabilizing. Yeah, personally in ways that many people are probably experiencing. This pandemic is profoundly destabilizing of their identities. Like who am I in the world if I don't, you know, like, say, for example, like, put on lipstick and, you know, participate in these things. And I'm the person that everybody sees it this one time in this one place if I'm not the person who rides the bicycle to work every day, right? If I lose my job, like, like, Who am I? You know, I'm the one that takes care of my extended family, but I can't leave my house. Who am I right? If I There's no reason to put my makeup on today. Right? or? Yeah, I think it's kind of maybe we don't pay enough attention to the way that those like routines of everyday life kind of anchor our sense of who we are like in a really important way. Oh, you know, like in a good place when you know the the all the Janet's episode. Yeah,
Like Eleanor starts to disintegrate because she doesn't know who she is. Yeah. Or, and like the whole fabric of reality starts to fall apart because there isn't anything you know, she like goes from being a self described Arizona trash bag right to being something different. But then you know, she doesn't trust in God or herself and she doesn't know who she is. And like the whole fabric of reality starts going to pieces and Janet's burping a lot, right and yeah, and then like to bring her back and stop reality from dissolving like God has reminder of something essential about herself. So maybe that's what we need to do, right is find a gym, but no, I mean, we have to Thinking about what is essential about ourselves and maybe what is essential about our work, right? Or what's essential about our routines or our self care practices, or our family relationships so that we can find a way to anchor ourselves back into the fabric of reality, even if we don't get to experience it the way that we have always experienced it, right? Yeah.
Well, it for me, it's also just trying to remember, like I said, about even just answering those emails, right. It's
our back to the email.
No, I know. Like, unless it was an automated email, which it probably in some cases was it there's, there's another person on the end of it, right. Um, and I think that that is the thing, ultimately, that I've loved the most, if there's anything to love about this moment is remembering and nurturing the connections that we have, right? One thing that I weave, you know that I have Hope, particularly teachers and instructors take from all this is that it is humanized their students in a way that perhaps they hadn't been before. For better or for worse, but it's that it's that idea that we're all human beings struggling through this and that I, you know, like, you and me doing this podcast. So let's take this as an example. Right, you and me doing this podcast got it gives some structure right I know on Thursdays, as you said, Thursday afternoons, you and I are going to talk? Yeah, um, and and those conversations for me are personally beneficial, right? Like I say, exactly. We have this connection and we look forward to it and we get to catch up. But then there's also like, Okay, well, I have to now edit this podcast and publish this podcast. All right, not exactly the most exciting thing to do. But I also know that through this podcast, we have managed to connect to other people. Yes. Right. And so that there is that it might not matter in the grand universal scheme of things. But it might matter to a handful of people and help make their day a little bit better and give some structure to their week knowing that the podcast is going to come out. And it gives me something to listen to, and something to look forward to. So it's trying to keep those those small moments and remember, like, for me the kind of ripple effect of what it is that I do, right, so, like, I'll send out my blog posts, and I'm like, you know what, I'm not even going to really promote them. I'm going to tweet them out once, maybe twice. But like, they're there and if someone finds it, who needs it, fantastic. And if not, then you know that that's okay, too. It helps me in that moment. And that if it can help somebody else then great, fantastic. I'm glad I can help somebody else as well.
So maybe this is about like connection. Write that. Yeah, I mean, you said like, maybe in the grand scheme of things, like, it's not so grand. But I mean, in the normal course of life, how many of us operate on the level of the grand scheme of things, right? Like, mostly, it's not us. Like, I guess we can just hope for those small connections. And if like, what I was thinking out loud, about a little earlier about, like our connections to sort of space time and meaning being rejiggered, which are kind of like quite big things, but also quite material things you are describing something a little bit more personal and effective, which is it's our connections to others that that really do route us in time and space, and meaning, right, so that if we can find, like a little moment of grace, extending our attention to someone through an email, even when we're like, worried about again, the toilet paper situation just keeps springing do I wear a mask or do I not wear a mask? Oh, yeah,
no, that's a new one, right? Like, do I wear a mask or do I get them as Cadillac? Oh, how forcefully do I make My kid make the mess when you're like I'm not wearing like, I'm gonna have a 13 year old. Can you imagine my 13 year old daughter? Almost?
There you go. There you go. Like she's why we're not writing emails we because yeah, we just got sucked into the mask. Yeah despite ourselves right? Yeah, yeah so if we look within ourselves to find new ways to anchor ourselves into like time and space and the meaning of things and at the same time if we can reach outward to others, right, either like unknown or anonymous others as through like maybe some of the podcasting or the blogging that we do or like, I like to send jokes over Twitter I'm like making a sideline and like keeping morale up on through this time. Or like reaching out more personally like to have you know, virtual cocktails or virtual coffee dates or, or things with friends we maybe don't get to see very often. Those are probably, you know, big and small strategies that we can use to quiet the inner voice of panic that I think for ADHD people can be distract me one of our main problems that most of us with ADHD have is this kind of high distractibility and everything around us is, is just there to throw us off our path, right? We can't even see clearly what the path is supposed to be right now. It's real easy to get knocked into the bushes away from the path. Yeah, I think I think we've talked why
there just be like, just lie there going like what was
I doing? I don't even know. Yeah, those aren't that bad, right? It's not that he I'm sure I'll be fine. What? Ooh, bird, right. Like, yeah, I could see the bird. I could see the sky from here. From here. Yeah. And the skies remarkably clear of air pollution because yeah, Bing anyway. Yeah. So I mean, I think we've addressed some, some of like the big worries and the little worries so like, how do I write my email to does this have any meaning like through things like, you know, anchor yourself to time and time and space and also, like, write some blog posts and talk to people because the urgency and emergency has now largely been evacuated for those of us who are not actively sick or currently being laid off or trying to apply for benefits here, they're everywhere. So it is a luxury for those of us who are beginning to feel sort of bored. Or on we that's a luxury doesn't mean it's not a real problem. But there are problems to have. Right. And and so as we move into that kind of like more boring shelter in place, work from home stage, I think, I think today, we've thought of some good ways to try to make that work or even just acknowledge that that's probably a thing that we're all getting into, into a new kind of emotional state from the thread.
Yeah. And I think, again, I think there is something just about acknowledging it and being able to put some language to it, that it's really powerful that it's no longer just this sort of amorphous distraction, but it's okay, I can sort of start naming and categorizing all of these things that I'm feeling, which helps to make sense of them, right, even if it doesn't make it go away. It's sort of like oh, That's the thing, right?
Yeah, we can search a name and describe our new normal because normal is beginning to establish itself. Right. And here's a segue. Lee, are you ready? as normal begins to establish itself? Perhaps we will move from our special emergency coded programming into our regularly scheduled programming. Yes,
right. Yeah. Well, it's not like we're gonna ignore the reality except for all of the episodes that we recorded before.
From the before time.
From the before time, we didn't record episodes from before. Oh, that reminds me Sorry, there's a there's a meme. Or there was a tweet that went out and she's like, we tried to explain the COVID-19 and the sheltering in place to our three year old and now. Now they walk around sounding like the first chapter of a why a dystopian novel. Before the sickness we would go to the grocery store the
sickness we used to go to 60 bucks
before the sickness We went to the park but now because
of the great God Uber Eats came down to save us. mac and cheese out of a box. Yeah.
I just thought that was so funny. I'm like, Yes, that's about right. But yeah, so we did we did record some episodes before and I'm going to edit those together and release those but we're also kept saying how we're gonna have guests but now that we have a regular scheduled time and no one else has anything to do either.
Talk to us.
Yeah, yeah. So um, you know, email all the things firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested or would like to be a guest I know some of you have written on blog posts and some people reached out on Twitter already. We're gonna get I'm gonna get no I'm not gonna say we all be writing.
We will be writing to you making frowny faces, my email client,
rending my shirt yelling Why? And then Yeah, I will. I will be right. In the emails and just like letting me know, and she should show up and like questions she should have ready. Perfect.
I know it is. I have no problem with that. So with that, thank you so much, Amy. And I hope this helped
today. Thank you, Lee. This was amazing. I hope I hope you had as great a time today as I did.
I did actually I have a nice big smile on my face now and it's a long weekend this weekend. So this is actually sort of the perfect end to not great week but yeah, thank you so much. Happy Easter everybody or other holiday
involving chocolate that you celebrate nondenominational or extra Yeah.
Exactly. Yeah. And and and remember the Easter Bunny is essential service essential service. Yeah, important, isn't it? The Easter Bunny is essential service. Sorry, parents. You're still on the
hook. Always moms.
Alright. Take care, and we'll be back next week.