Distracted by
(311 Stories)

Prompted By Attention Span

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I’m a big reader –  or at least I was.    (See Book Slut, or Why I’m in Six Book Clubs)

Actually a therapist once questioned whether I had an attention deficit because I told him I was easily distracted. –  I invariably forget pots on the stove,  and my son is not the only one in the family who’s forgotten to turn off the taps when drawing a bath.  (See Tracing Our Roots)

And,  I confessed to the therapist,  I often make half the bed and then remember something else that needs doing,  or I leave the dishwasher half loaded when distracted by another task.

Then he asked if I had trouble finishing a book,  and I said no,  and there went his neat ADHD diagnosis.

But since Covid I don’t seem to have the same concentration or sitzfleisch I had,  and I’m surely reading much less.    But then again I think I’m writing much more.

So thanks for small blessings,  and thanks Retrospect!

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Characterizations: well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    First, I love the fractured Picasso you used as your Featured photo. Perfect! I questioned the ADHD diagnosis when it was given to my kid, who could sit for hours, playing video games. How could that be attention deficit? But the therapist explained that with this diagnosis, the person concentrates TOO much on something she is really drown to (to the exclusion of all else) and can’t focus on other tasks that aren’t similarly engaging. Sigh. That did fit the bill.

    We in the Retrospect community reap the benefits of your focus on writing!

    • Thanx Betsy for the ADHD explanation which makes perfect sense and fits the bill indeed.

      I’ve often been late paying bills because I get busy rearranging the desk drawers, or sharpening my pencils, or making new labels for my file folders. And at work I remember letting distasteful tasks slide to do ones I enjoy instead. Once I had to confess to my principal that I missed a deadline and lost our school a $20,000 grant for additional library funding!

      And often with friends or colleagues I’d bring up what I thought were clever new ideas or solutions, only to be told, “Dana, we already had this conversation!”

      But I’m still thinking about you and Vicki, and how Covid has kept you apart, adding to the anxiety. Hoping some of that will be resolved.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Like Betsy, I love your featured image, Dana. And I also appreciate your discussion about attention spans and — again, like Betsy — your observation that the same person (i.e., you) can both seem unfocused at times and too focused at other times. In other words, like so much else in life, it’s complicated.

    But just keep writing for us!

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    Dana, I enjoyed reading this because it reflects so much of what I have been experiencing lately. A pandemic combined with aging is a recipe for half-finished projects and books that just don’t hold my attention the way they used to. Right now, was struggling to stay focused on the NY Times, but decided to read some Retro stories as I passed the computer room. So, I may never get back to what I was doing before. That’s life these days.

  4. Marian says:

    Agree to all, Dana. I think my issues are a combination of aging, COVID, being a caregiver, and the general fragmentation of our lifestyles, which in a way reflect yours. I find keeping a list really helps me focus on those myriad tasks–until I misplace the list!

  5. Suzy says:

    Dana, so glad you decided to write this story which really is about attention span, in addition to your story about Tippy and Toppy. I’ll join the chorus of praise for your featured image – Picasso must have been having the same problem! I am with you on the half-unloaded dishwasher or the half-made bed – with me it’s likely to be the half-folded laundry. We are lucky that you are still able to focus on writing for Retrospect!

  6. Khati Hendry says:

    The beauty of a short attention span is that everything is interesting, at least enough to attract attention. And when the right thing comes along, deep dive into that and then forget about everything else, which remains unfinished, oops. At least the words we write down in stories have the potential to keep us somewhat on track—even if we are called away in the middle there is evidence of where we left off.

  7. So which is it that Covid or age has affected–the concentration, or the sitzfleisch? They aren’t one and the same, are they? (I had to go to the online dictionary for the S-word; thanks for expanding my vocabulary.).

    • Thanx Dale, honestly I’ve been easily distracted way back before aging and Covid. But I believe the worry and frustration over Covid is the reason I seem to read less now.

      And to me lack of concentration and sitzfleisch mean about the same – the inability to stay focused and sit still. It’s hard to read when you can’t keep your bottom on the chair!

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