Zoë goes house shopping with ADHDBeing diagnosed with ADHD late in life meant I had a lot of catching up to do. While other kids were learning social skills in public school, I was busy perfecting my one-liners and trying not to freak out from mind-numbing boredom while standing in the hall for my aforementioned one-liners (perfect though they may have been).

I’ve always considered myself a late bloomer.  Little did I know that ADHD was at the root of it. Recently, I tried on my ill-fitting big-girl pants as I set out to buy my very first house that didn’t come with miniature horses and big-boobed Barbies.

We’re not camping in the woods anymore, Toto

I remember when I laid out $100 for my first tent and thinking that was a big deal. Perhaps, then, you can imagine what the past month of house-shopping has been like for me (you do not have to consider foundations, UFFI, galvanized pipe, or septic tanks when you buy a tent).

Will they see through my big-girl disguise?

Being suddenly immersed in the foreign land of real estate stirred up some insecurity, not unlike when I tried to speak Québécois French in France. Just as I was shunned for not speaking with a proper Parisian accent, I was afraid that I was being sniggered at behind my back because I didn’t know proper real estate lingo at my age.

I realize that fear was all in my head, but then again, so is ADHD. Living with undiagnosed ADHD has trained me well to feel insecure and inept. It’ll take a while to completely overcome (as opposed to speaking Quebec French in France; that is a situation for which there is no remedy).

In grown-up situations, I still don’t expect to be taken seriously. Tant pis.

On the positive side

“That’s a good question; most people don’t bother finding that out.”

I was delighted to find that everyone from the lawyer to the realtors expressed surprise and admiration by the nature of the questions I asked (of course, I’m paying them, but let’s stay positive). I heard more than once, “That’s a good question; most people don’t bother finding that out.”

When I repeatedly apologized for the number of questions I asked, my realtor said that he wished more people would ask these questions before they bought. Finally! Someone who didn’t find my excessive questions annoying.

I was anxious to get into my own home, but I took my realtor’s advice and looked at a number of properties even after I felt that I’d found the perfect one. No small feat for someone prone to impulsivity.

Again, I learned that I was in the minority. “Too many people don’t take enough time to look around [before they buy]” I was told.

Surprised at finding myself fitting into my big-girl pants, I tried to undo my realtor’s compliment with, That’s probably because they have a lot more money to spend than I do.

Here, let me do that for you…

On reflection, I realize that I was so uncomfortable with being praised that I provided an antidote to the praise through self-denigration.

I’m going to try not to do that again because (lean in, I’m going to tell you a secret) …it felt great to have a trait that formerly elicited exasperation (asking a zillion questions) taken in a positive light.

Why should I denigrate myself by comparing myself unfavorably to others who couldn’t be bothered to do the leg work that I did? Or perhaps others were just overwhelmed by the whole exercise. (Lazy? Overwhelmed? This reminds me of something… hmmm…)

On my way to home sweet home and self-confidence

I still find it hard to feel like a full-fledged grown-up because I’m doing so many things for the first time so late in life; but at least I’m doing them right.

NOTE: One small adjustment I’d make if ever I’m in the market again: I might refrain from telling the realtor that a house is haunted. Then again, maybe I’d get a better price.


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