I sat down for a solid 20 minutes, give or take, and just found myself staring blankly at my screen. Complete and total overwhelm consumed my brain and stalled any productive action. I’ve discovered this issue of mine years ago. I have many interests that I hyper-focus on for months at a time and want to do nothing else. Quite literally nothing. I lose interest in most other things, including prior obligations. Sometimes, these interests can come in cycles that last 1-3 years that have minor ebbs and flows throughout those larger cycles. The issue here is this : once this hyper-focus has run its course, I don’t want to bother with it for months or years at a time. Or ever again.
This makes picking a singular major in college or a life-long career in a specific industry or specialization nearly impossible. 3-4 years maximum and I will feel boxed in, stifled, claustrophobic, stagnant, tortured…
I think you get the gist there.
This is something I’ve noticed about myself for as long as I can remember, and it didn’t really become an “issue” until school age. More so toward high school and traditional college ages of the early 20s. One was expected to settle into something in particular by now. This may or may not be directly related to the possibility of having undiagnosed ADHD. Something that my therapist brought up to me during the last few sessions when I’ve been venting about my frustrations and struggles that worsened during the pandemic. So, now I’m waiting for the diagnostic screening set for October. Thus will begin the journey to knowing for sure if ADHD has been at the core of this and other strife in my life. In other words, it’s N O T a character flaw as many would write it off as, purely in ignorance or indifference.
Why am I sharing this? Mostly to map out my chaotic thought process, and for those who have faced similar battles.
My current obsessions have actually lasted longer than most so far. At least this “cycle” of hyper-focus has been more of a slow burn. I feel it’s mostly contributed to the fact I haven’t been able to have the time or access to the resources/materials to actually go full bore as I would have in the past. There’s been a mountain of annoyances for the past 2 years. So maybe if I can slowly find the resources and the space to do as I see fit, I can get another 3-5 years out of this current hyper-focus. Maybe if I find ways to expand on or discover more things in those niches to get interested in or excited about, I can add a whole decade out of these combined pursuits. Even better, finding ways to bring them together under one roof.. or brand.
So, what are these interests I’ve been hyper-focusing on lately?
Archaeology & History : the Celts (Atlantic Zone), the Gaels & Picts, the old Norse,
communities of Gaelic diaspora outside Ireland & Scotland.
Linguistics & Language : Celtic, Old Irish/Ogham, Pictish, Old Norse, Modern Irish &
Scottish Gaelic, Faroese & Norwegian.
Formulation : learning to safely and properly formulate custom hair care and skincare
incorporating ingredients native to northwest Europe.
Herbalism : learning about the medicinal properties of plants and fungi, in addition to
to foraging and wildcrafting.
Photography : particularly conceptual photography, lifestyle photography and nature
Filming : mostly long-form, documentary-style video content – can’t see myself devoting the
time and energy to talking-head vlog-style videos.
Podcasting : I love to listen to them on a plethora of different topics myself and find that
talking over a microphone instead of AT a camera is far more comfortable for
ASMR : I love listening to ambient tracks. I do it on YouTube and other websites all the
time. Everything from the sound of rain on the windows of an old library with a
crackling fire to a playlist of spooky Halloween-themed ambiances all October long.
I want to make my own that I could share to YouTube and have others download for
As you can see, it’s all over the map as far as topics and industries. From creative and entrepreneurial to traditionally academic. That’s not even including hobbies I want to get back into like dance and horseback riding! It’s a lot. Frankly, college can really only help with… the top two realistically.
Could I study Archaeology, History, Linguistics, and all those languages on my own? Yes, technically. Would it be MUCH harder without some formal instruction or a mentor to guide me and all the resources I might struggle to come by otherwise on my own? Definitely!
The others, I could simply find created playlists or entire channels on YouTube or affordable courses nearly everywhere now in which I could learn those other skills. From there it’s finding the time to develop the skills and projects I envision.
I’ll be honest, though. Full-time college, plus working a mundane job, leaves little room for any of this without giving myself burnout in a few months. Maybe, a year if I was lucky.
So, here I sit. Wondering if I’m being over-ambitious, believing I can pursue all these interests equally right now. Or I if need to dial it back. Maybe start with one topic in each area and progress from there. I don’t just want to superficially skim these things. I want to give them the time and proper study or development each is respectfully due. I suppose that could be the answer or conclusion I’m coming to on my own.
The benefits of writing out one’s thought process.
I suppose I will do exactly that: sit down this weekend and craft a working curriculum for myself. College will take care of much of the Archaeology and History, with some independent study to supplement. Sadly, no college near my teaching any of the languages I wish to learn at this time (
other than Harvard, b*tch that tuition is LAUGHABLE) so I will research that on my own for now. Others I have slowly been working on developing my own but may need to invest in quality courses to move things along over the winter.
As soon as I craft that working curriculum, I’ll post about it to the blog and share what I’m doing and my resources. I aim to share the process and what books, podcasts, courses, etc. I have access to for others who wish to do the same.
How about other neurodivergent folks out there?
Have you struggled with this?
How have you managed this? Have you been successful?
Do you have suggestions?
Comment below or reach out on social media!