Books vs Books

open book

open book (Photo credit: sarah_browning)

So I know I’ve been gone a while. I can’t say I was too busy or preoccupied. I felt like I didn’t have anything particularly interesting to say about my life with ADHD. I felt like I would be cheating you out of the purpose of this blog if I didn’t include some sort of struggle or triumph. But alas, I feel like I can now look back and share with you all the little things that have added up.

First, I read a blog earlier this year about making a reading list of books read. I chose to try it out myself. So far, I’ve read several books, including 3 1/2 of A Song of Ice and Fire books, The Hunger Games trilogy and The Hobbit to name a few. I even proofread a book for an author friend of mine.

Also, I started learning how to code at Codecademy. It’s a great resource for anyone who wants to learn how to read and/or write computer code. It has plenty of lessons and achievements. I completed the JavaScript and HTML/CSS series, but don’t ask me to write your next website. I struggled through a lot of the more complex subjects, which is what makes websites do all the cool stuff. It’s been fun, but I’m taking a break. jQuery has become my enemy.

Finally, let’s address the title of this blog. Since I’ve been reading so much, as I mentioned before, I’ve found that I can imagine and create and play in my mind much better than before. It’s so refreshing to know that I still got it. :P

My wife and I have also been reading to my daughter to get her ready for school next year. We read about 30 children’s books a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Some of them are from our childhood. They brought back memories and have made us think, “This book is crazy! Why did they let kids read this!?” more than once.

Although my books and my daughter’s books have little in common, other than they have words and pages, I have come to realize something. To a kid, the pictures in books are wonderful. They bring the words to life and help them understand what’s going on, even if they don’t know all the meanings. But in my books, there are no pictures. They look so boring and monotonous. Yet, with each passing word, a new life begins to form. Whole worlds are created and destroyed. Lives are saved and lost. I’m forced to make the black-on-white monotony become real.

I started to become a standard human, one of those simple letters slowly marching along the pages of life—then I read a book. The letters of my life began to move a little, then dance, then fly! My life began to take off again as I started to imagine once more. That’s what makes novels so amazing. That’s why we have to keep our kids reading, no matter what age they are.

We can’t live without dreaming. We can’t dream without imagining.

Pick up a book and bring your pages to life!

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More Time Spent Means More Time to Spend

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

Hello strangers. It’s been way too long since I’ve been on here. I hope you haven’t lost hope in me yet.

Since we last talked, I’ve been growing closer to family, more content with my job, and more whole as a person.

I’ve been spending much more time with my family than before, which has many benefits beyond those found by other means (i.e. books, games, pointless internet surfing, etc.). It still baffles me how much more free time can be found by spending more time with someone. I feel better about myself, both physically and mentally. You should definitely try it if you haven’t already.

My job has become more satisfactory for sure. I work with a great group of people and have just enough variety of tasks to keep me interested, but not overwhelmed. Although, I must say that I don’t really appreciate the cold, wet conditions I have to suffer through.

All these little factors have combined and boosted my overall sense of being. I’ve found myself more energetic and much happier than before.

Having all these epiphanies and self-reflective discoveries has helped me to refocus my life on the more important things. Don’t get me wrong, I still play games and watch sports. I just don’t do it nearly as much as I used to. I’ve also found that my growing need to write has been steadily increasing.

My favorite books to read have always been either space- or medieval-themed (most recently the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin), so naturally, I wanted to write a novel of a similar theme. I had a really good idea for a space sci-fi novel, even going so far as to design a few ships and character profiles; however, I found a flaw that ultimately led to me trashing the dream.

Then I had an actual dream—a dream that took me by surprise and fanned the flame for a very different novel. I never thought I’d ever have any interest in the genre, but it intrigued me. I woke up from the beginning of a political  thriller. And that’s all I’m going to say until I get a little further into the writing.

Sometimes ADHD has its surprises, both good and bad.

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Creative Spin for the Seemingly Ordinary

Notepads

Notepads (Photo credit: Jay Shouldol)

Below is a collection of very short stories I’ve written over the past couple of weeks. All of them originated from something that actually happened. I just added a little fiction to spice up the bland. Here’s how it started:

I was looking out an ordinary window with an ordinary view, when a spark of inspiration hit me. I thought, Why don’t I turn this absolutely boring life event into something interesting.

And so I wrote.

The Building

I look out the window at a building being constructed. I wonder how long it will take for it to be complete. The beautiful pictures of the completed building conflict with the steel skeleton standing in front of me. It’s a constant battle between the present and the future. A battle that will ultimately be won by the simple act of cutting a ribbon.

The Box

I sit in a box. It’s all I have. A box that fits only me. The world enters this box through four windows. I cannot hear or smell the world outside, even though it’s only inches away. I find it intriguing to be able to look and observe this world to the point of intimate familiarity, yet never be able to truly know its real personality and character. A flower has bloomed just outside, but I can never smell or touch it. This box has robbed me.

Monotony

A man sits at a table with a pen and a stamp. He stamps then hesitates, as if unsure of his actions. He speaks to another man before continuing on. I wonder what words were exchanged, what papers he stamps, and the point of all his actions. Another page turned, another stamp applied. Monotony.

Blue

Blue walls, a blue door, blue pants, a blue pen, and a blue notepad. Why is there so much blue? Some of it was my choice, some of it wasn’t. So why is it all here with me at this single point in time? I find it comforting because blue is my favorite color. Maybe that’s why it’s all here now. Perhaps I need the comfort and I subconsciously looked for it. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence. Either way, I like it.

Chicken Jerky

Why haven’t I ever seen chicken jerky? I’ve heard of beef, deer, turkey, and even buffalo jerky. Never chicken, though. Is it too small? Doe it require more effort than it’s worth to make it? For such a popular food source, I’m surprised that I’ve never crossed paths with this elusive form of jerky. Ah, the mysteries of life. On that note, out of all the mysteries to be pondered, why did I choose chicken jerky?

The Power of Perception

Looking down, I see a million stars. I feel infinite and infinitely small at the same time. I can fit all these stars in the small holes we call eyes, yet the distance to the closest one is far too great to comprehend. Should I hold the universe in my hand, or let the vastness crush me? Should I be the king, or the spec of dust on a spec of dust? This is the power of perception.

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I TRIed

I know it’s been way too long since my last post. Sadly, they seem to be getting further and further apart. I wish I had a good reason, but I used up all my good excuses earlier today. All I can say is I’m sorry, and I hope you’ll forgive me. If you find it in your heart to forgive me and would like to know more about what’s been going on since my last post, I’m more than happy to tell. :)

English: Triathlon photographs from the Chinoo...

English: Triathlon photographs from the Chinook-Half-Ironman Calgary Alberta Canada, June 23 2007. more photos of the race visit http://reuben.krabbe.ca Magyar: A kanadai Chinook Half Ironman triatlonversenyen készült képek (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sure you’re wondering what exactly happened with my triathlon idea. My training started off great and I attended some workshops, but I had to weigh my priorities. I started training less and less to spend more time with my family, which was absolutely worth it. Although my training suffered, I did maintain a steady pace and found myself on the starting line last weekend.

The morning was cool and the fog was thick. The officials delayed the start due to fog, which really didn’t help my nerves. I checked and rechecked everything as many times as I thought necessary. As they began the countdown to the start of the race, I began to feel a little anxious. It was too late to back out, so the only thing I could do was wait for the countdown to end and literally dive in. The race official said, “Go!” and I began the hardest 2 hours of my life.

The swim was no bueno. The fog hadn’t quite lifted and I had yellow-tinted goggles, so trying to find the orange buoys was just short of impossible. I followed the group of swimmers in front of me until I could see the markers. After about ten minutes of trying to find my way through the fog and swallowing a week’s worth of water, I finally made it to shore and began the next leg of the race.

The bike ride wasn’t as bad. I found myself pondering everything that can be pondered on a fourteen-mile bike ride—questions that ranged from, What did you get yourself into? to, I wonder if the people along this route mowed their grass for the event. I finished the bike ride and discovered a small piece of information that hadn’t been passed down to me beforehand: When riding a bike for an hour, jumping off and running is a task that should be respected. My legs nearly collapsed as my graceful dismount turned into a jelly-like jog. I regained my balance and moved on to the run portion.

The last leg of the race was the 5k run. To say it was difficult was an understatement. I knew I could do each of the legs of the race individually, but I hadn’t put them all together  until race day. As I mentioned before,  my legs weren’t very happy with having to do even more than they’d ever been asked to do. The run alone wouldn’t have been too much of a problem except for two setbacks I encountered.

The first setback: a side cramp. Just about the 1k mark, I began to feel a pain in my side that wouldn’t subside until just before the finish line. My second inconvenience: Nature. Oh how she loves to mess with us at the most inopportune times. Not to be outdone by my side cramp, my bladder decided it wanted a piece of the action. I know elite athletes do what they can to keep going without losing time, but I’m an amateur and I’d rather not finish a triathlon in wet pants. I found a bush, lost about a minute, and continued on.

After fighting my body for what seemed to be an eternity, my cramp finally subsided and the finish line emerged from behind the trees. This helped me gain the energetic boost I needed to cross the finish line in full stride. (1 hour 48 minutes 22.3 seconds)

With my family and friends waiting for me as I crossed the line, I smiled. I did it. This race represented so many positives in my life. I finished a triathlon, accomplished a long-term goal, and proved to myself that I could stick with something. For someone with ADHD, it’s hard to focus on small tasks, so this seemed like a mile-long shot in the dark.

Thank you everyone who supported me and helped me cross the finish line.

-Ryan

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Go Big or Go Crazy

Rock Climbing in Dali

Rock Climbing in Dali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello friends. I pretty much failed my last task of starting a chain of healthier and more productive habits. Sometimes I feel like my uphill battle with ADHD is more of a cliff. But there is hope! How does one conquer a cliff? By training and working out and practicing. So that’s what I’m going to do.

I’ve found a new “hobby” that I hope will stick. Not only will it add health benefits, but also a commitment that I can’t really back down from. On the downside, most of my hobbies start out with this same excitement and focus, only to burn out in a couple of weeks. Part of my new “hobby” is that it’s in 12 weeks, which will help me fight my urge to quit early. It also requires a lot of dedication and training. So what is it? I’m going to race in  my first Sprint Triathlon!

I never thought I could even come close to finishing a triathlon, since I’m not a long-distance runner. I honestly don’t even know what changed my mind enough to even think about trying it. I saw a post on facebook about a triathlon meeting, so I decided that I’d poke around the internet and see what it’s all about. After doing some research, I found out that it’s not as bad as I thought. It just takes dedication, discipline and commitment.

I hope this is the one that I stay with. I feel really good about it, and really refreshed after just a couple days of training. I have to do this. For me and for my family. Otherwise I’ll drive us all crazy with yet another unfinished project.

-Ryan

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Dear Taylor

Dear Taylor,

Oh, how much one week can change a person’s life.

Last week I was planning a post about my novel and a couple of other arbitrary things—arbitrary in comparison to recent events, that is. I procrastinated writing the post, and ended up with material for this post, although it’s material I never dreamed I’d ever have to write about.

Last Friday, you were killed in a motorcycle accident at the tender age of 22. You were my favorite cousin and best friend. We were inseparable any time we were near each other. I hate that I had to lose you. You weren’t supposed to die yet. We were supposed to spend a lifetime of fun and memories before having to worry about the end of our lives.

You had an amazing set of friends and family. Every minute I was there this week, people were asking me how I was doing and offering me tons of sympathy. It made it so much easier to have that amount of support. Even with all that sympathy, though, my trip there was really hard. I was constantly reminded of the memories we made together—the places we rode our bikes, the house you used to live in that looked like a “barn,” the restaurants we ate at…all those places screamed at me every time I passed by.

Everybody said you always talked about me and wanted to be just like me. Unfortunately, I didn’t do my part by talking to you like I should have. I didn’t call or write or email or message you on facebook. I just lived my life as if you were going to be here forever. My biggest take-away from this has been that stark realization that I failed at being your best friend. I didn’t know how much I loved you until you were gone. I’ve heard that so many times before, but it didn’t mean much to me until last week.

Ashley did really well at the viewings and kept her emotions in check. She stayed strong, so everyone else would have hope that things were going to be okay. I admire her for that, but I also know that she’s going to be going through the roughest time of her life in the next few months.

Your dad was strong, too. He really held it together well. The most astonishing thing he did was clean your helmet without shedding a tear. I don’t know how on earth he did it. I don’t think I could have made it through that whole process with such composure. You made him proud.

Your mom saw me the first day I was there and said I looked exactly the same, no matter how much facial hair I try to grow. She was crying every time I saw her, understandably. She loved you more than anything, and it was very apparent. You should let her know you’re doing alright from time to time. I know she would love that.

Trey looked completely different from the last time I saw him. The last time I remember seeing him was when we tried to get him to put on his shoes, so we could ride our bikes to Bob’s house. He was such an ornery little fella, but I know you loved him and always will.

As for me, I’m doing alright. I can’t believe that the number one person in my life, besides Eva and Talon and my parents, was taken from me so soon. I had never cried out of pure emotion before this week. I’ve had many conversations with my wife about my inability to cry, so I decided to pray about it. I asked God to show me how to cry, how to reach the deep emotions that have eluded me for so long. Unfortunately, a couple days later, I received word that you had passed in a motocross accident.

I’ve fought so hard with the notion that I caused your death with my prayer. It all happened so close together. Not only that, the jersey you were buried in said “Answer” on it. No other words or colors, just cold, black and white lettering.

After talking with a few people and thinking about it, I remembered the story of Job in the Bible. He lost everything he ever owned, including his family, and still stayed true to God. But it wasn’t God that took everything away. It was Satan trying to destroy his faith. That helped me realize that it wasn’t my prayer, although I still struggle with it from time to time.

On a much happier note, your son, Braxton, is finally here. He was born yesterday at 5 pounds 4 ounces and 19 inches long. He will never know how wonderful you were and that makes me so sad. It hurts to know that he will have to go through life without you. I know you would have done an amazing job at raising him.

Here’s a picture of him. Only your kid would be smiling and picking his nose! He looks like a little Dr. Seuss character, which I know you would love. I can’t wait for him to grow up, so I can tell him about all of our memories. I’ll make sure he chases rabbits at least once. I’ll even give him the salt.

I will always love you and miss you Taylor. You mean so much to me.

Love Your Twin,

Ryan

P.S. There are 926 words in this letter. I thought you might like that.

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ADHD Gem I Found While Blog-Panning

Ryan:

For all you ADHD fans, here’s an interesting blog I just ran across.

Originally posted on Poof7797's Blog:

Well, in my quest – and it is a quest –  to read this ADHD book I mentioned a while back, I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve made a step in the right direction with my son. It may seem simple or even stupid to some people, but this step has made a remarkable difference in all four kids, not just the two with ADHD. What is this wondrous miracle step, you ask? Breakfast!

Yes, breakfast. Until last month, I was fine with the kids scarfing down a bowl of cereal before they raced out the door only to then eat the free breakfast offered at the school, usually something laced with sugar that I wouldn’t make at home. I figured as long as they were eating something, they were okay. I can’t believe after all the self-education I’ve had about nutrition that I deluded myself into believing this. I…

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