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Friday, October 21, 2016

MY FASCINATION WITH SQUIRRELS

I have ADD.  Hell, at this very moment, I can feel my attention being pulled in about six different directions.  (I literally had to delete and retype that last sentence four times!)  Now...I didn't know I had ADD until my lovely wife, Robin, suggested that I go see the doctor.  Apparently I had the incredibly annoying habit of looking at everything around me ("Oh, look!  Squirrels!) instead of the person who was talking.  Even though I may be completely paying attention to the conversation, my behavior gave the appearance to others that I really didn't give a sh*t.  Not a good impression to leave.  

This pic, which shows the positive effects that exercise has on the human brain, is in The Atlantic's article "Exercise Is ADHD Medicine."  (Hillman et al, Pediatrics/The Atlantic)

 I survived childhood with a lot of structure...a very loving (but strict) mother, Catholic school up to and through 8th grade, then football, track & field, and musicals in high school.  All these things helped to keep me focused.  It's probably why...actually I KNOW it's why...I love structure in my life.  I figured out, at an early age, that, for me, life is so much better when I'm either mentally or physically engaged in something.  All this was validated, the other day, when I was reading an article in The Atlantic called "Exercise Is ADHD Medicine." (I love to remind my wife that the doctor DID NOT add the H to my ADD diagnosis!) 

My 8th grade class at St. Thomas Catholic School in Bedford, PA.  Yep...that's me in the front left.  I still wonder how that kid grew up to marry such an amazing, successful, & beautiful woman like my wife, Robin  --  May 1986

Bedford Bison's 1990 Seniors.  I'm #51 third from the right in the front -- August 1990

I spent four fun track and field seasons throwing javelin with my best friend in high school, Aaron Housel. That's me on the right -- May 1991


I'm on the far left playing the role of Lazar Wolf in the musical Fiddler on the Roof.  The "bald" wig turned out to be a pretty good look for me! -- 1991

I do take, what I like to call, my "concentration candy" every day.  My boss loves that I no longer glaze over when he puts a spread sheet in front of me during a team meeting.  But, in my opinion, no pill can ever replace the benefits of activity.  For me, nothing brings me back into focus like riding my bike.  It doesn't even have to be a long ride.  Just the other day I took my bike up to Rocky Ridge and only rode 4 miles.  It doesn't seem like a lot..and to some not worth the short drive to the park..but, at that moment, it was just what I needed to quiet my head and pull me into focus. It was enough to break a sweat, get the heart pumping,  and get those chemicals flowing  in my brain.   Just me, my bike, and a quiet head...with nothing to distract me but..."Hey look...squirrels!"

Enjoying Rocky Ridge County Park -- October 16, 2016

Life is a journey...not a destination!



David A. Raymond -- October 21, 2016
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Thumbs up from my principal, Mike Alessandroni.  He knows I took my concentration candy before our field trip to Gettysburg National Military Park.  No squirrels up here!  -- May 24, 2016