Getting Out of My Own Way

20 Mar

My middle school counselor once told me, “You’re like a man driving a car with your feet on the gas and the brake pedal. If you can take your foot off the brake, you’ll go faster.” In so many ways, we are our worst enemy, and constantly get in the way of what we seek.

Now I could blame a lot of that on my ADD, but everyone has some reason why they can’t succeed, and the truth is that it doesn’t come easy to anybody. In school, I was frequently bored, and if I didn’t see the point of an assignment, I didn’t apply myself. So my grades suffered. For example, we were required to do a project for driver’s education where we had to cut out fifty traffic accidents out of the newspaper (yes, I’m dating myself) and indicate how this could have been avoided. I thought this was stupid and didn’t do it. So I didn’t get to the driving part of the course and didn’t get my license until I was 21.

It was only when I went to grad school–much later in life–that I was able to focus… although that probably had more to do with me paying for it directly.

This affects all parts of your life. For example, I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 25. I was brought up with a firm belief in “love can wait,” but the schpiel went something like this: “When you’re ready, God will find someone who is also ready for you, and you won’t be alone any more.” No one explained that you actually have to ask women out. Now that sounds silly, but to a socially awkward boy like myself, this was an important step that was left out. So I had crushes, and the few times I actually got the gumption to do it, I got shot down a lot.

“Oh, boo-hoo, Marcus, me too.” Let me explain–when I asked someone out, it was because I was convinced I wanted to marry them. I was already committed at that point. I didn’t understand the idea of just dating to have fun–or get laid–or just to not go alone to a movie. Everything was at a higher level because the dumbasses who came up with a abstinence problem thought kids knew the basics. It was only have therapy, and lots of rejections after, that I could actually get my first girlfriend.

Work is like that too. I always remember the phrase “high school never ends.” In a way, my boredom has always been a determining factor in my career. I liked being on stage, but because I was always taught “you need to be paid for work,” I never even considered being an actor or musician. When I went into teaching, I think it was because I enjoyed being an actor, but had a captive audience. It was a natural fit. But when I got my teaching certificate, it never occurred to me to “volunteer” in the place I wanted to travel to… and being a history teacher, I wasn’t exactly in demand. So as I joke, “I wanted to go overseas in the worst way, so I went overseas in the worst way.” I took a job as a dorm parent, because at least it was in an overseas school. I insisted on teaching a class in an addition to working a full job, not thinking that I really needed the time off instead. Nope. So in a role that I wasn’t ready to handle, I burned out pretty hard.

It worked out in the end, but man, if I could just get out of my own way, I figured I could have gotten there a lot faster. I’m sure I’m not alone in this–what obstacles did you put in your own way? Let me know in the comments below!

And if you like my writing, why not pick up one of books? Or if the $1.99 threshold is too much of an “obstacle,” download one of my free stories instead!

2 Responses to “Getting Out of My Own Way”

  1. rebecca s revels March 20, 2021 at 8:32 am #

    My son was diagnosed ADHD in kindergarten no less. All the way through school regular classes bored him horribly. Give him a hands on thing to focus on and he did amazing. Once he got out of high school he went to a trades school to learn auto mechanics where he graduated Dean’s Honor Roll. He found his focus and has proven time and again that all of those instructors, even the ones ‘trained’ for ADD or ADHD kids know so little.

    • albigensia March 22, 2021 at 7:28 am #

      He found his niche–that’s awesome!

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