This is a personal post that wraps up the first part, Almost 50
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Almost 50, Part 2: Details
You know what bothers me about the post I just sent your way, “Almost 50”? It bothers me that I was talking about real things in a vague way. Time passing faster. Be here now. That stuff.
I want to add more detail to make those real statements less vague.
In 2022 a few things happened: I completed my second master’s degree, this one in counseling psychology, and was headed to the world of full time work (outside the house and for someone else) again. I had also realized that I am on the Autism spectrum myself, with ADHD. In 2022, I was ushering my oldest son in to high school (- can we just sit on that for minute?! HIGH SCHOOL!!!) with his 504 in place and was going through many of the 3am panic-wake-ups at the thought of my daughter entering middle school next year (- MIDDLE SCHOOL!!). In there, I was also trying to figure out what is going on with my youngest son, who is currently in speech therapy for his speech differences. I didn’t know if he’s hearing impaired or has an auditory processing disorder… or what? So there was that.
In between these things, my oldest son morphed into a REAL TEENAGER. I won’t get into the details but suffice to say that a month and a half were completely swallowed by all the things that were going on with him. Gulp. Swish. That time: Gone.
Meanwhile, I was in a job search, remember? On a large island with very limited opportunities. Ha.
While I love the private counseling that I do, and I love this blog and the freelance work, I have missed being a part of a team. I miss working with other people in real life, miss the human connection. I also miss economic stability and the greater financial security.
I don’t think that can happen now, though. I don’t think I can work outside the house in something full time.
That’s where I was vague in the ‘time passing faster’ and ‘be here now’. I see these kids of mine growing so fast, and needing me right here, right now. I need to drive them to this place or that, check in on this or that, organize something or other, and I have no idea how I would make that happen if I was working a regular full-time job.
Added to that, my neurodivergence and my hearing.
I’m trying to get a handle on the 4 million projects I take on, all the creative explosions that plop out of me. I’m trying to feel more grounded in this time-space reality that is moving so quickly and use my time here in a way that will help me become the person that I would like to be when I die. My hearing doesn’t help – focusing on what people say to me can be exhausting the listening fatigue is real. I don’t know if I can realistically handle that AND the full-time parenting that I do AND supporting my family.
I think turning 50 this year for me is about taking stock of the decisions that I need to make with the time that I have. What are my bottom-line priorities? What is my “prime directive”?
Knowing what I’m working with now – my ADHD/Autism –and hearing, it’s actually easier, because I can recognize what I’m doing and pull myself back. I can create systems for myself that are game changers. I LOVE getting older, knowing this. I LOVE knowing that the way my mind functions is perfectly fine, all of this has a reason and there are simple ways forward. This knowledge helps mitigate some of the absolute agony of ADHD and the fatigue I can feel when the hearing gets to be too much.
“Time passing faster” and “be here now” also applies to my love life. I think it would be nice to be in a relationship again. But I can’t do that with all the things that have been going on with my kids and my ADHD. I can’t focus on that many things at once, I’ll get derailed and it takes too long to get back on track. I worry about that sometimes, like, if by the time my kids and I are in a steady place where I can date again, will it be too late for me?
Here’s the gift of my Grandma’s honesty though: she once told me how she felt, 55 and newly divorced in a laundromat, crying, wondering if this was it for her. Her friend introduced her to the man she later married, my step-Grandpa Bill.
Knowing that eases it for me – it’s okay. When the time is right, it’ll be fine. I don’t need more than one person, and the law of averages is on my side – there has to be one person in this world (of billions!) who I’ll fit well with when the kids and I are in a good space for me to be dating again. It’s probably easier that I don’t really care what gender they are. I just want a person I’ll fit well with.
“Time passing faster” and “be here now” are far from vague pieces for me. They are real, especially the latter, “be here now.” My kids are growing. Fast. When I took Mack and Moxie camping last weekend, Mack spent most of his time with his friends. He was reserved at times with me, quieter and in that, I could see the young adult he will become. A heady reminder to “be here now” because my kids won’t be forever, all of this is changing so fast already.
One last thing I wanted to pull through about this here and now: disability.
I always knew that things would get easier for me as I got older – it was just a feeling in my bones, it’s always been there. And it’s true. It’s so funny to me that now people are starting to attribute my hearing loss to my age! I say I’m hearing impaired or deaf, and they look at my wrinkles and hearing aids and nod, “oh, yes.” My hearing loss is becoming normal and will likely grow ever more normal as my peers join my club.
I see that happening with other pieces as well – more and more of my friends are discovering their neurodivergence or are acquiring their own disabilities. Disability truly is the only minority group that anyone can join at any time – and it’s the only minority group that most people will join at some point in their lives. So that begs the question: is disability really a minority group?!
Be here now. Time is passing faster. Be here now.
This, my friends, is the full story behind what I mean with those word in the first post.
Be here now.
Time is passing faster.
Be here now.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.