I relax by writing, watching TV, surfing the internet, reading a book, looking at the grass grow. This morning I played 1 1/4 hours of squash games, lost every one, and am exhausted. I need to “relax.”

The other night I met a man who said he can only relax by being active. He said that he had hunted EVERY single Saturday for a solid year. Pheasants, quail, chukars, deer. If he couldn’t hunt near his home up north, he “hopped” a plane and went to Georgia or South Carolina. On Fridays or Sundays, he takes a golf lesson in the morning, plays 18 holes, then goes home and has a trainer give him a shooting lesson, and finally rounds out the afternoon by shooting 500 clay pigeons in his back yard. Probably just before going to a black tie dinner party.

How does a seemingly normal human being do all that activity?

But I remembered a lawyer I once hired who invited my family to his weekend house in Massachusetts. He was up by 5:30 am rowing his shell on a lake, then played two hours of tennis. As soon as we arrived around noon, we all ate lunch and went for a hike up a mountain. Back at the house, we were ushered onto a a speedboat for a spin around the lake. He said this was a normal day. Rowing is so beautiful when the mist is on the water. Gets you ready for the day.

But any one of these activities would have been enough activity for me. I was going crazy just talking, eating and hiking. I’d already driven a couple of hours to get there. The boat tour was fun, but way too much input for me.

Yesterday I heard from a friend that these guys may have ADD, which is attention deficit disorder or ADHD, which is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Some part of their brains need to be constantly stimulated to feel ok or calm or relaxed. Too much stimulation wears me out. I need to relax. Too little stimulation makes ADD brains go crazy. They need MORE activity to feel relaxed.

I knew that ADD/ADHD kids are given ritalin to relax them. I never knew before yesterday that the drug is a stimulant and helps decrease one’s need for activity and movement.

Whether the two adults I referenced have any disorder or not, they certainly have higher energy than I do or will ever have. The challenge is to discover what you need, what you like and figure out how to have them both.

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