As a general rule I feel my focus and concentration skills are pretty good. Better than pretty good, actually. I would even go so far as to say they are better than average. Now, you might be saying to yourself, "of course they are, you're a lawyer." But you would be surprised by how many ADD lawyers are stumbling their way through law school and into practice. But here is the thing, those people are basically smarter than I am and do not need to concentrate and focus quite as much to succeed. This is not false modesty, this is just something I have come to know and accept. For me, law school and the subsequent practice of law has demanded a lot of concentration and focus in order for me to be successful.
But lately every shiny thing that catches a bit of light - or even a dull thing that comes into my line of sight peeking out of a dark corner - distracts me from the task at hand.
For example, right now, I should be writing a memo. A memo that will essentially write itself because I have copious notes on the subject and it is all basically plotted out in my head. Instead, my afternoon - aside from the obvious distraction of me pausing to muse about it here as a pointless blog post - has gone basically like this.
Hmmm, maybe I should start that memo. First I'll see what is happening on facebook since I went a whole morning without opening it for distraction. Why is my computer so slow? Wait, why are 50 windows sponateously opening? Better call the helpdesk.
Great, tech support wants to take my computer away. Guess I should kill time until the guy comes to give me a loaner computer.
Ugh, I'm annoyed with the new computer that doesn't want to function properly. Perhaps it is time for a Coke Zero from the vending machine.
Why not stop and complain about all of this to a co-worker on the way.
Oh, and there is that GIANT wheel of bubble wrap sitting in the hall. How fun would it be to roll that out and run down the snapping the bubbles under my heels? Or roll out on top of it? Would the pressure make the bubbles snap?
Why is this floor so slippery? And squeaky? Did they wax it? First time in five years they've bothered and of course it is the week before we move out. What is the point now?
Back to that memo. To, From, Subject, Date, file name: check, check, check, check, check.
Wow, my keyboard is pretty gross. Maybe I should clean out the crumbs, I haven't done that in a while. Where would I get one of those cans of air?
What is wrong with me? Why can't I focus?
Oh, that's right. It's spring.
I should blog about this and then get back to work.
. . . .
I have an annual condition that has been afflicting me for nearly as long as I can remember: Spring Fever. All one has to do is peruse my report cards from law school, college, high school and I'm sure further back to discover that I lack focus and concentration in the warming spring months. After being cooped up all winter with dreary clouds and drippy weather the slightest hint of sunshine, a blue sky and blossoms makes it impossible for me to accomplish anything productive unless absolutely necessary. For the last month since I've been home from vacation (how did a month go by so fast?) everything has been absolutely necessary all the time so I haven't had the option to get distracted like a magpie by the tiniest scrap of tin foil. Procrastination wasn't an option. But I haven't had any deadlines this week so the fever has set in and I didn't even realize it until I was pounding my keyboard against the garbage can and coaxing crumbs out with a napkin (sorry to horrify you with the imagery of my nasty keyboard but it is what it is).
In high school I called it senioritis despite the fact that I was only a junior when I recognized it for what it is - a nearly physical inability to do anything remotely productive. And my hilarious friend Amanda started writing stories about my ailment, attributing it to my brain's desire to wander. My little brain simply packed his bags (somehow my brain has always been referred to in the masculine which should annoy my feminist leading side but whatever) and took off. He abandoned me when I needed him most cramming for AP tests when all I wanted to do was ditch class and head up the canyon for an afternoon hike. I wish I had some of the tales of his adventures with me now because they were pretty grand. I attribute my worst grade in law school to this annual nomadic phase my brain goes through. Property, spring semester of my first year. I knew my stuff but somehow none of it made its way onto the final (and only) exam. My head was just not in it.
This week New York is experiencing a beautiful heat wave that will abruptly end with the onset of the weekend. And while I have managed to schedule a surprising number of appointments this week (a task that falls in the category of "errands" which I detest and avoid at all costs) - including waxing, gynocologist, dentist and a hair cut tomorrow! - work is slacking. Not to mention taxes. Is April 15th really next week? Yeah, I should probably do something about that. If taxes were due January 15th or October 15th, I don't think I would have any trouble doing them in advance and getting them out of the way early (for the most part). But having them due smack in the middle of my spring fever itch? Impossible. And don't tell me I should have done them in January, who really manages to focus on them that early? Right, don't answer that.
All I am trying to say with this convoluted mess of a post that illustrates how difficult it is for my brain to focus on one thought long enough to completely finish it without interrupting myself is this: allergies are not the only thing I suffer from in the spring. Even with my recent vacation, my skin is craving sunshine and my body is craving rigorous outdoor activity. From my high school days spent hiking Donut Falls instead of attending 6th and 7th period or hiding from the hall monitors to go to Mayfest at the U to all those times at SUU when a 40 minute drive south rewarded pale college kids with spring run off and red cliffs to hike and lay out on to spring climbing and that taunting mountain behind my law school that whispered so enticingly that if I just pack some flash cards and a couple of books in my back pack, surely I will study just as well perched on a rock as I would under the fluorescent lights of the law library . . . I crave spring. I actually find it more distracting than summer.
Summer lulls you into the security that every day will be nice (well, except for last year's unseasonably cool summer with all its rain) so there isn't this desperate urge to get out now or it will all slip away too quickly and by September you are ready for the crispness to return to the air.
But right now? Right now I slow my stride and smile at the blossoms that seemed to have bloomed over night all over the City. I take a deep breath in the morning before I open my eyes because the air that is drifting in from my open windows is still cool but with a promise of warmth to follow. Tights are abandoned and sandals are dragged out. My feet are free of socks until late October or perhaps even November! I search for brighter colors in my closet and softer patterns. Yesterday I noticed nearly every other woman in my office and on the street had likewise reached for her most summery dress. Mine was a silk pattern of brown and orange and navy I paired with my new cream flats and a cream cardigan I had to remove it was that warm.
There is a promise that comes with spring that whispers anything is possible if you just get out there. And that is what I want to do, I want to just get out there, my brain is already there waiting for me.