I think I have AADD. You know, Adult-Onset Attention Deficit Disorder.
I know there’s technically no such thing, but I’m starting to think it exists. As a kid, I was focused. I could come home from school and do my homework, no problem. I could even do my homework while listening to music. But now?
I can’t concentrate. If it’s something that I have to sit down and do for an extended period of time, I can’t do it. The only exception is reading a book, and I don’t even do that as often as I used to.
It’s probably cliché to blame the internet, but I totally do. There are so many more distracting things now! Before I was in college, there was no social media, no YouTube, and my internet connection was dial-up. I can still hear the ear-piercing screech of dial-up coming online.
Honestly, I can track the beginning of my downward spiral to the invention of AOL instant messenger. It was pretty much the only thing the internet was good for when I was in high school other than email, and it gave me a way to be in touch with my friends without spending hours on the phone – although being online then used the phone line, and there was no call waiting on the internet.
Because the internet tied up the phone, my sisters and I were not allowed to use it before my parents got home from work, just in case. I broke this rule many times, causing my parents to actually lock my account between certain hours of the day. Thanks, AOL parental controls!
The summer before I started college, UMass joined Facebook, which was still in its infancy (and called The Facebook). Originally, it wasn’t much of a procrastination tool. You could write on someone’s wall or write a status update, and that was pretty much it. But it was the beginning of the social media obsession that has now taken over our lives.
In the time that it’s taken me to write this, I have taken granola out of the oven, checked Facebook a handful of times, and pet the kitten, although nobody could blame me for that last one. I think I need those parental controls back.
I also have a lot more hobbies now than I used to. As a kid, my answer to the question “What do you do for fun?” was “Reading, writing, shopping, listening to music, hanging out with my friends.” These days, the answer is more like “Baking, knitting, working out, doing my nails, reading, writing.” And yes, I also have a full time job.
I always assumed that my career would be in writing somehow. Over the past few years, this has gotten lost. What used to be my second greatest passion (first is reading) has been relegated to an afterthought. I find it hard to even consider myself a writer anymore, and it used to be a huge part of my identity.
The internet is to blame for this too, in a roundabout way. In high school, I decided that I wanted my career to be writing for magazines. By the time I received my journalism degree in 2008, the magazine industry (and the economy) was already not the same, and I couldn’t find a job. I have worked in journalism, first as a newspaper reporter and then as a radio reporter, but news was never my passion.
I’m now almost completely out of the industry, minus my Saturday shift on the local news radio. I did manage to combine baking and writing with my blog, although I don’t update it as often as I used to. My main focus now is on my North Carolina Bakery Tour, in which I’m visiting as many dessert places in the state as possible.
I guess this was all a long way of saying that I’m back. At least, I want to be back. My goal is to exercise my writing muscles with at least the same frequency that I work my abs, and I try to do that pretty often. Wish me luck!