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“Every Day Is New Year’s Day in ADHDland”

In the post-New Year’s champagne-popping hangover, I decided to skip New Year’s resolutions and have chosen to reflect upon what I’ve learned since leaving Gotham for Asia last fall.

I’ve said this before, but the mantra remains the same: Every day is New Year’s Day in ADHDland — a chance to dream up new goals, new promises, new vows, a few that are fulfilled but many that soon become orphaned, left hanging at the wayside. Somewhere in the many piles of papers I’ve accumulated over the years, I have to-do lists and goals, but how much do I have to show for them?

Yes, this post is a little belated, but I’ve just arrived in Asia after three weeks of doing the round-robin of visiting loved ones in the Big Apple. The trip was the stuff of Christmas miracles — an actual white Christmas, lots of gift opening, egg noggin’, Christmas caroling, and a wintry ski trip. And amongst all of this noise, a fast-moving carousel of color, visits, and conversations over coffee with loved ones, a question from a good friend stopped me in my tracks: “So what do you think you’ve learned from your time in Asia?”

When I think back to fall, it feels like three years crammed into three months. The perks of leaving New York — if only temporarily — are clear. In that short span of time, not only has the sting of the bad breakup with the Ex-boyfriend, who I’ve re-nicknamed the SOB, faded, but I’ve filled up my passport and now jokingly tell people I am a corporate refugee turned professional tourist. As part of my new freelance gig, I’ve traveled to three major cities and moved at least a dozen times — from hotel to guest house, from my friend’s apartment to the grandmother’s apartment, back to guest house, then back to the grandmother’s flat. While physically exhausting, I’ve been somewhat re-energized by these moves or what many might view as total chaos (though this isn’t entirely new, as the ADHD life feels, in many ways, like a series of Cliffs Notes books, rather than one great epic novel).

I’ve also learned not to apologize for what may seem like a gypsy-like existence. Travel makes me feel like a girl with a goal. Each move is literally a new beginning, while on a deeper level I know very well that I take myself and my personal history with me wherever I go.

On the flip side, the move has been a reminder that while most people my age have settled into adulthood and acquired its trappings — a stable job, marriage, and children — I remain undecided about what to do next (yes, even I’m starting to fret about my so-called delayed adulthood). The Father, Stepmother, and a chorus of relatives and friends, whose volume grows by day, are singing the same refrain, “Jane, you seriously need to think about your future, about your career, and about settling down. You only have one life to live and you have so many gifts and talents, why aren’t you living up to your potential?”

Their advice — punctuated with stinging words like serious, potential, and single — triggers a cold sweat and my heart kicks it up a notch. I’m ashamed to admit that I still haven’t discovered my life’s purpose, not found a passion that some find in their career or in a hobby. On top of that, though I don’t admit this to the chorus of loved ones, I continue to struggle making decisions about simple things, like deciding what to order for dinner. But like I said before, this is about reflection, not about getting one step closer to perfectionism, and keeping with that, I point out that things are already changing for the better.

In 2011 — the Year of the Rabbit according to the Chinese zodiac — there are already several wonderful things for me on the horizon (you can read about them in upcoming blogs), without my having to wish about them while ringing in the New Year.

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