Go ahead, ask me how old I am. I’ll happily tell you. I’m … no wait, that can’t be right. Oh yeah, I’m 56.
I always get confused, you see, I feel like I’m 18. Well, not physically, physically I feel like I’m 86.
Yeah, it’s been a hard life. Having combined type ADHD means that I have been physically very active. You might say I’ve been kind of hard on my body.
And it doesn’t help that I spent about twelve years as a devout practising alcoholic. You can’t put that much alcohol through the system and expect it to bounce back completely.
And another thing about addictive substance abuse, something people with ADHD are susceptible to, it doesn’t lead to smart decisions. And I don’t mean which savings plan to choose or should I get a will drawn up or just let them wing it if I die. I mean day to day decisions like “I wonder if I can jump off this roof without hurting myself?” or “I wonder why so few people try walking on the top of a garden fence?” or even “I wonder what it’s like to go twice the speed limit?”
So do I feel 86 in my mind?
No, I already said I still feel like I’m 18. And I do, really. And part of that is that, even without the benefit of alcohol or any other mind altering substances (unless you count coffee) I still don’t make the best day to day decisions for this poor battered body of mine.
I’d rather lift something that’s too heavy for me than wait for help. I’d rather climb a tree and look at the ground from up there than look at the tree from the ground. I’d rather go for the all you can eat buffet and see just how much I can actually eat than order a sensible meal.
And I’d rather stay the way I am
As far as how old I think I am, I’m happy being a big kid. There’s joy in my life. There’s fun.
And when I look around at other people who aren’t like me, I don’t see that in them.
Now I’m not judging them. Maybe they do feel joy. Maybe they like the way they are. Maybe they even love it. How would I know.
But what I do know is that I wouldn’t love being them. I wouldn’t like living their life.
And the down side?
The down side is that every now and then, I’m brought up short by the realization that I am much older than I think I am. I haven’t found my life’s calling yet and I have less life to live, in all likelihood, than the amount of life I’ve lived thus far.
So every now and then I think, “Holy crap, I’m 56 years old!!?!” And I feel sad for myself … for a minute or two. And then I think, “Wow, the sky looks amazing today.” and I move on.
And the up side?
The up side is that I spend more time feeling like a kid than thinking about how old I am.
And if I ever suffer from dementia, I’ll have the luxury of thinking that I’m 18, and being unable to deny it. I can’t imagine that’s a good thing, but I can see how it would be interesting.