What if I allow myself a moment…..is this a luxury in U.S. culture? Would it be a luxury to truly believe that I have the deciding vote on the management of my time and would it be a luxury to actually be in a situation/condition where there is a moment to spare? These questions came up recently related to my schedule and the inner and outer pressures felt to either stretch each passing moment to the extreme, or if this is not achieved, then to feel guilt and shame from inert, wasteful, lazy non-productivity.
My flare-up reaction was to blame something; curse and blame learned norms, expectations and socialized behaviors (in regards to perceptions of time, security, money). And while the cursing was necessary to fully describe my discontent, the blame concept equated to a glowing ‘dead-end’ sign in my mind (blame – just another distracting method of thinking that is securely implanted as the preferred reaction to frustration).
Then, I remembered reading the following article “In Search Of Perfection, Young Adults Turn To Adderall At Work.” Adderall is one of the prescription medications used in the treatment of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I always thought that ADHD was diagnosed in children, but I suppose those kids do grow up. After checking several articles online, it appears that ADHD prescriptions are on the rise for adults (obtained through legal and illegal prescriptions). According to medical journals, someone with ADHD has a problem focusing, or they may become overactive, or not be able to control behavior (or a combo of these things). In the article I mention above, several young adults (who were not diagnosed with ADHD) said that Adderall helped them through college and had become an effective resource for enhancing performance in their career fields by allowing them to focus, hyper-focus, on their given tasks at hand. The article went on to say that other young adults may feel pressure to take prescription enhancements in order to stay competitive in the work world. Just when you thought you’d have to go for that 10th daily-espresso shot to stay ahead. Now, you can take those coffee funds and pass them to your pharmacist.
Wow, am I on the wrong track completely? I had started this entry hoping to generate another perspective on this multi-tasking, multi-apping world and release the self/career/family/society imposed pressure of packing in each moment with overflowing projects. And then I read about a rise in adults seeking out medications to do the opposite? What generates this pressure of production and performance to the extent of taking medication (which implies ultimately that without the medication, you are not good enough, need to be better….based on determinations and decisions made by someone else)? Maybe it is anything from competitiveness, to recognition, to status, to internal judgements….the list goes on, I’m sure, because it seems like it would be a personal revelation.
I guess, the article I mentioned exemplifies the culture movement that I see everywhere (and feel its pressure)- a culture of dissatisfaction and thirsty/hungry for something, a gulping of anything and demanding more of it, but nothing seems to be quenching. And the gulping intake becomes a frantic, hysteric for more – more time, more money, more success, more status – a culture where these expectations of ‘more’ are perpetuated through pop culture, daily habits, media and social streams until the ‘more’ becomes the ‘normal’ standard for tomorrow.
I guess that is the frustration, that I do not want to move along to the next level and expectation of ‘more’ – I just want to allow myself a moment….without every-thing…without any-thing.
© M.R.Collier, A Way of Your Own, 2014