I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Nothing too severe or even outwardly noticeable but I have sensed a subtle change in myself. I’m not sad and I’m not depressed because I have an amazing core of family and friends that have dedicated their lives to making mine easier. I haven’t suffered any setbacks in terms of the disease’s progression so I’m not feeling weaker, stiffer, or feebler. I grin from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat and laugh the proverbial milk right out of my nose when I see my see, hear, and hold my precious little Emmabug. So what the hell is my problem?
After spending the better part of the week attempting to figure out what my major malfunction was, I came to the following multi-faceted conclusion: when you combine a dash of laziness with a spoonful of lack of motivation and then add a heaping helping of a feeling of being overwhelmed, you get a recipe for an unproductive ALS Boy. And an unproductive ALS Boy is not a happy ALS Boy, hence the funk.
If you knew me pre-diagnosis, you would have known me as an efficient, hardworking, driven, focused, autonomous, goal-oriented, and productive young man. In other words, I was a workaholic. It was not at all uncommon for me to work seven day weeks, twelve hour days for months at a time. And my focus didn’t merely extend to work but rather to all aspects of my being, be it music, exercise, reading, and collecting comics, to name but a few. If it was something that needed to get done, I did it. The funny thing was, the more I took on, the more I accomplished. In other words, if I wasn’t overloaded, I didn’t really feel the pressure and I was therefore prone to bouts of procrastination until I reached that certain critical mass of spinning plates and juggled bowling pins and then, and only then, did everything get done.
But that doesn’t happen so much anymore. Because of the ALS and it’s symptomatic effects on my body, in particular my hands, legs, and mouth, everything I do takes a whole lot longer than it did before. It is prohibitively challenging for me to write by hand these days so everything I write, I type. Sorting items by hand, items such as pills, papers, and cards, has evolved into a psuedo-strenuous endeavor that I reluctantly engage in. Even moving myself from one room to another requires a sizable effort and a carefully schemed plan to pull it off.
I’m not complaining, mind you, I’m just venting in order to get to the bottom of why I have been so unmotivated and lazy these past few days.
In light of all these new-fangled restrictions placed on my ability to accomplish things these days, there is no shortage of items on my to-do list, projects such as blogging, writing thank you notes, returning and sending emails, getting back to friends on facebook, editing videos of Emma, outlining and writing a memoir, writing a children’s book explaining to Emma why her Dad’s the way he is, finishing my already started novel, converting old tapes of my former bands to an mp3 format, and scanning old photos to change them into jpegs.
So basically, I am as busy as I ever was, except now, I have more time AND less time to do all these things. I have more time because I don’t have a job anymore but I have less time because the shelf-life of a person living with ALS is measured in years as opposed to decades. (Lucky me, I get the opportunity to deal with my lifelong productivity OCD while grappling with the time-sensitive issue of my own mortality. Yay!). Granted, there is no guarantee of living an abbreviated life with ALS, much like there is no guarantee of living a long life without ALS, so I am optimistic about my chances of getting everything on my list completed, along with dozens of other projects I haven’t even thought of yet.
As I draw to some sort of conclusion here, it has become evident to me that this post has been a therapy session of sorts for me. I do my best thinking in print, albeit after a few rounds of proofreading and editing. Even though I have not been particularly productive (to my personal standards) lately, I am okay with that. (Jeez, I sound like Stuart Smalley). In some strange way, it felt good to get that out on the table and I am most certainly in a better place than I was before I wrote this.
Thanks for listening. More stories to come soon, I promise.