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Trying On My Big-Girl Pants: An ADHD Late Bloomer

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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Trying On My Big-Girl Pants: An ADHD Late Bloomer

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2012). Trying On My Big-Girl Pants: An ADHD Late Bloomer. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Aug 2012
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