Surprise! I’m not a Failure

Samuel Smurlo
4 min readNov 8, 2019

I have 12 stories in draft at this moment including this one. Anywhere from 8 to 800 words I’ve crafted and thus far abandoned. It’s been less than a year and I’ve already abandoned a project for every calendar month. And that’s only looking at my writing projects. I’ve got 3 unfinished art projects, an unpublished website, a half complete DIY desk/bar, a collection of shelves and art to mount, and countless other half birthed ideas scattered throughout my life. Medium is kind enough to keep the writing ones organized and taunting me.

I often see myself as a failure. I should be doing more, finishing what I start, being something. I’ve long felt trapped by the idea of being something. The desire to be it is there, but the idea of focusing on a single something is terrifying. I’m 33 years old; I was 32 when I got diagnosed with ADHD. For a handful of years, I’ve had friends that participate in NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writing Month), the goal of November is to write a novel. The idea of writing a novel in my lifetime is a daunting dream. The idea of writing a novel in a month is an absurdist nightmare. This November arrived and somehow the idea of writing a novel seems slightly more attainable. I started taking atomoxetine(generic Strattera) a little less than a year ago. I’ve started carving out space for birthing and aborting ideas. It hurts so much less to see them as works in progress.

I have accomplished some really cool things in my life. I bought a house. I built a pyramid court(the sport from Battlestar Galactica). I made a music box one time that played my own tune. I’ve gotten semi decent at painting, at least in one particular style. I am running a fairly successful Pathfinder campaign for my friends. I taught myself how to build computers, and have done so almost a dozen times now. I’m happily married. I planned my whole wedding start to finish. I’ve hosted and cooked multiple Thanksgiving dinners. I share my house with 2 humans, 2 dogs, 4 cats, and some plants. I’ve lived in 3 different states, and visited half the US. Plus, I’ve had the privilege of travelling around Europe twice, once by bus and once by train. I went skydiving once; I would be surprised if I ever did again. I’ve broken a handful of laws(some repeatedly: looking at you, lead foot). I’ve stayed up to watch the sunrise with people that are important to me more times than I can count. At 33, I finally have enough control over my life to begin organizing around my accomplishments instead of my failures. When you don’t know something is…

Samuel Smurlo

I mostly write for me and on the off chance that someone can gain something from my thoughts I publish them here.