Get To The Good Part

Every week, my mother would go through half a dozen pulp romance novels, more as her dementia progressed. I found out that she would only read the first couple of pages, then skip to the end section.
“I forget who the people are and the stories are all the same and the end is the best bit anyway,” she’d say.
Wanting to skip straight to the outcome first is very much part of what I like to call MADD syndrome (Memory, Attention & Dyslexia Disorder). Or maybe just “ADDyslexia”.
It’s really hard to confront conceptualizing the entirety of the who’s-who beginning and especially the what-happened-to-which-character-and-why middle, skippish attention can’t hold onto and grapple with all that.
Also, there’s something about ‘outcomes’ that is easy to focus on and certainly captures and holds interest, even to the point of fixation.
I live in a world of outcomes, most of them potential and all of them kinda ‘ideal’. That’s where the juice is. Literally. If I look at an orange my perception is not of the object but a juice thing. Instant, visceral, clear, sweet and cold enough to get my saliva glands all excited. Nice. Easy! But not actually possible usually. That simple outcome will take work, thoughtful preparation and discernment to get oranges  – remembering to put them on the shopping reminder list then remembering to use the list when shopping.  And then to put them in the fridge. Somehow I skip thinking about all that, knowing that the juicy end will be worth whatever work I have to do – which I can’t envisage and never have been able to. So I don’t bother. And in reality I don’t eat very many oranges.
For larger projects or outcomes, this breaks down into tiny units chunks of activities which each have an ideal outcome or sensation. If I am painting the side of the house, I will approach it in one of two extremes. I will either go for the quick ending, slap paint over unprepared surface quickly in order to get straight to the end point of standing back and admiring the finished result. But mostly nah, I know underneath that I won’t be satisfied, thinking of it as a temporary outcome, it will flake and is not ‘proper’, thus ‘real’. This kind of outcome requires it to be as well done and long-lasting as possible.
So I usually go the second way, which is to Chunk The Project. I will hyper-focus and beaver away until that is done well, then I take each section that I paint as an ideal outcome standing back often and looking at the result. Takes AGES and no one really gets (or cares) how well it’s done.
My attention is almost always constantly on the feeling of the result.
In fact I don’t know any other way to look at things other than the ending our outcome.  I can’t grapple with the steps, I just want to be there. As quickly as possible.
Good thing, yeah?
Well sort of but actually one gets bogged down in each chunk.  So doing too many things too fastidiously without looking at the timing, how it fits in the bigger picture.  In order to conceive of ‘good enough’, you have to be able to see the whole thing and be able to track progress or steps or resources or do-ability, timing.
Just like my mother needed to be able to remember who the characters are in the context of all the plots to keep track of the story – both past and into the future. Without the attention span it’s just not possible.
And like the end of a complex and memory/attention demanding novel, or project, too juicy and fun not to go straight there, now.
I so understand Millennials, the “I want it all and I want it now” generation. They skip to the ideal, the gimme-gimme, and skip right over the how. Screen addled, information overloaded and channel clogged, there’s little brainspace left to sort, prioritize in a ‘get real’ way. So they, as do I, shrug off the disappointment of unreal expectations and get on with hyper focusing on The Moment. Yay!

Take Note.