I have a problem. Well, I have lots of problems, but I have one I’d like to share.
It’s my age, or rather, my ages. I have ADHD, so I have a chronological age, a physical age, an emotional age, and an age based on how much time it feels like I’ve lived.
Those ages, in that order, are 56, 86, 13, and 21.
Now the 56 can be ignored, that’s just the amount of time since my birth. I don’t look that old, and I feel much older (has anyone seen my liniment?).
Now about feeling older, that’s what constitutes the second age, my physical one. People with ADHD are more likely to visit emergency rooms, more likely to have bruises and sprains, and more likely to die from accidental poisoning. (I think that last one comes from the fact that we’re also more likely to say, “I wonder if this is still okay to eat?” while rummaging through the refrigerator.
It’s little wonder I feel old. Like many with hyperactivity, the big “H” in ADHD, I work hard, play hard, and am still trying to get caught up.
So I also don’t bend as easily at the joints when I first get up in the morning, and as my fellow Canadian, Leonard Cohen once said, “I ache in the places that I used to play.”
But since how old I feel has nothing to do with my age, we can discount this number also.
So that leaves my emotional age and the age that represents how long it feels like I’ve been here. And they could both be adequately represented by the term “under thirty.”
Lucky me, right?
Well, yes, I guess … but also no. You see, at my age, with ADHD, I represent a large, and growing group of people. People who are over 50 who, within the past eight or so years, have been diagnosed with ADHD.
And how are we not so lucky? Well, using myself as an example, I’ve just recently found out that I have ADHD in my mid fifties. There are two shocks there, first, I have ADHD, and second, I’m in my mid fifties.
For heaven sake, I haven’t yet decided what I want to be when I grow up …
And this is upsetting!
There are all kinds of proactive programs to get young adults adequately educated, adequately employed, adequately housed, and that’s good. But I could use some of those programs, and I don’t fit the criteria.
I actually do fit the criteria, in every way, except for that age thing. And it isn’t my real age, it’s that damned calendar age, that chronological age that is the hitch.
I can’t speak for you, you may be in your mid fifties, you may have just recently been diagnosed with ADHD, and you may have issues with any number of things that we’re expected to have solved by this time in our lives.
But you may also be wondering how life got this far advanced when you weren’t looking. If so, then we’re in sync here. Join the club. We are the worlds oldest teenagers. We’re the twenty-somethings that get called sir by the pimply faced junior-junior associate at the burger joint while we’re thinking “I wonder, if I worked here would I get all the fries I could eat?”
What about solutions?
I’m not looking for breaks or freebies or even for social programs. But I don’t understand why there aren’t any for us.
‘Cause let me tell you, when we hit the age where we need society to look after us, and you realize that, if we’d been assisted in organizing our lives, we might not be quite the burden we’re gonna be … you’re gonna wish that we’d been helped.
Especially when you realize that we didn’t need help in anything more than just organizing, being shown where to go and what to do.
But what about … ?
And yes, I know that there have been people before us with ADHD who didn’t know that. And yes, things have worked, sort of, up until now. So why should I be saying you’re going to be sorry when nothing will really change? Because, while things are pretty much going to stay the same, what we’re missing out on is that things could have been better. Because now we know. And we did nothing about it.
We really are the worlds oldest teenagers, and we need a little help, figuring this world out, before we have to retire … next year or so.