Burning Bridges

People who know me know that I am very open with the fact that I have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Not only do I not hide it, I go out of my way to make sure that I tell this to the people who I interact with frequently. It is an integral part of who I am as a person. In order to understand me, you first have to have a basic understanding of what ADD is and what it is not.

I learned that I have Adult ADD around 9-10 years ago. When I was finally clinically diagnosed with it by a Neurologist at the Marshfield Clinic, I did a good amount of reading on the subject. This was a real “A-HA!” moment for me. I finally had an explanation for many of my behaviors and my memories of my childhood. The daydreaming, the hyper-focusing (yes, sometimes it is not a deficit of attention, but a hyper-focus of attention. I think this helps explain my love of Chess), the forgetfulness, the constant unintentional multi-tasking, the inability to finish what I start, etc. I always tell people that ADD is not an excuse for certain behavior. Rather, it is an EXPLANATION of that behavior.

One of the first things that I did when Carrie and I started to seriously consider marriage was to tell her about my ADD and have her read a book called, “10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD” by Stephanie Moulton Sarkis (ISBN #1-57224-434-8 if you are interested). ADD adults tend to have a higher divorce rate than the normal population, so I felt it was important for her to understand me better by reading this book.

One of my weaknesses as an ADD adult is having too many choices. I ask Carrie where she would like to go for dinner. Rather than deciding, she will turn it back on me and say that we could go to place A, place B, place C, place D, or place E. I tend to get frustrated with this, because too many choices confuses me and I have problems figuring it all out. I have asked her to give me 2 or, at the most, 3 choices. And once I choose, please do NOT continue to give me choices!

I see this as a microcosm of people in general. We as a society have been conditioned to “leave all your options open” and not to “burn bridges.” I think we live in a society of too many choices! For the most part, people do all right with this, but I believe there are times where we should close some of our options and burn some of our bridges! We can be our own worst enemy here, because by leaving all these choices open, we complicate our life. We want to study a double major in college and, oh yes, we also have a double minor, too! We want to specialize in one area of study, but we also want to get certified in this other area, too!

Enough, already!

When I was in college, I wanted to be a double major in Instrumental Music Education (band) and also Vocal Music Education (choir). I figured I was “more marketable” with a double major. So off I went, working at my double major when I hit a roadblock. I was not progressing in my piano skills. If you read my most recent blog post here, you know what happened. The piano faculty gave me a letter at the end of my piano jury stating that they did not think that I would ever reach the level of proficiency needed to teach choir.

Since I was not able to keep all my options open, the piano faculty closed one of them for me. It was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Now I could focus on my Instrumental Music major and not end up like my classmate Paul, who spent 8 years in college pursuing a degree that I earned in 4 years, and he never did get his degree. He was one math class short when he finally dropped out. Paul went on to a career in radio broadcasting and passed away in 2006.

There comes a time in life when you should burn bridges. There is no way that one person can do it all, be it all, have it all. Some options in life are limited by resources; time, finances, distance. Others are limited by others. As I get older in life, I am more convinced that sometimes it is better to burn bridges in your life. That may be certain people that you need to just cut off from your life. That may be some activities that you should cut off from your life. Sometimes it is possessions.

In our times today, we have too many options. I recently came across this idea recently when I was on Facebook. I had found a former colleague on there, and added him to my friends list. He was someone who, even though we were on opposite sides of the spectrum of beliefs, I still enjoyed knowing.

Big mistake.

Within days, an event occurred that he had very strong feelings about. I had made a statement on Facebook that elicited a significant amount of dissent from several people, which I had anticipated. For the most part, I just read what they had to say. But this former colleague was on a crusade. He commented over and over to my post. He sent me private messages justifying his opinions. For the most part, I understood his side of the discussion, but I was unwilling to debate him either privately or publicly. I had seen that people were becoming very personal about this issue, and I did not want to alienate friends and family simply over this issue.

I did respond to one of his private messages, limiting my thoughts to the initial post that I had made. He continued to argue with me on not just that issue, but multiple other issues that were all related to this event that had occurred. Finally, I saw him post on his page that he was very passionate about this issue. He had friends who said that they would just agree to disagree, but he said that he could not do that. He said that if anyone disagreed with him on this issue, that they should just de-friend him on Facebook.

So I did what he asked me to do. I de-friended him.

Burned a bridge.

Besides…I had had enough. Like I said, I was not willing to get into a public debate about this, because I was not willing to risk severing other relationships over this issue. I did not feel the stakes were so high that entire relationships should be severed over it.

I also laid low for a while on Facebook, and hid myself from a few people until things calmed down. Someday I will unhide, but for now…..

Sometimes I think that Facebook can be more harmful than helpful. There are reasons why I moved on in life from one place to another, and sometimes I just don’t want to maintain certain relationships for whatever reason. It’s nothing personal….just too much! I sometimes feel like I spend so much time seeing what people are posting on Facebook that I don’t really pay much attention to the people that I am with at that time!

We as a society have too many options. I am now convinced that it is necessary to narrow down these options so I can focus on quality choices instead of a large quantity of choices.

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