10 THINGS I’D GO BACK AND TELL A 10 YEAR OLD ME
1. The challenges in adulthood.
Some of the challenges you face now will get better as you get older. The challenges you face in adulthood are going to be a lot different. Not necessarily harder, or easier, but certainly different. In adulthood, depending on the career you choose, you won’t need to use any of what you learnt in P.E. classes and you can use a computer for a lot of your work, so handwriting won’t be an issue. Your drawing skills will very rarely be an issue, except, of course, when it comes to drawing or painting pictures with your nieces and nephews!
2. “The ones who mind don’t matter, and the ones who matter don’t mind”.
This is so true. I know you have trouble making and keeping friends right now, and, to tell you the truth, the social difficulties you are experiencing now will extend to adulthood.
I am sorry to say that you will still interrupt people constantly, unintentionally of course, you will still jump in and start a conversation entirely unrelated to what’s actually being discussed, because it’s simply easier for you to follow what’s happening if you are the one starting the conversation, or because your concentration has lapsed and you don’t know what’s happening.
Here’s the good news; the older you get, the more accepting people become. Once you get to adulthood you will make, and keep, a lot more friends than you do now. You will not even be a fraction as lonely in adulthood as you are right now because people mature and become more open to looking beyond your quirkiness and taking the time to get to know the real you.
There are very few people in their thirties who have a problem with it, and the ones who do? They don’t matter.
3. Make up and fashion.
You will gradually become more interested in makeup, but let’s just say a career as a make up artist is a definite no-go! In terms of fashion you will have little interest in it, instead opting to wear clothes that just make you comfortable. Here’s a secret – the older you get, the less people pay attention to what label you are wearing.
4. Work life.
I won’t sugar coat it. You will have difficulty, particularly in the beginning of your career, holding down a job. Whether that is because you lack the organisational skills required for the job, or you simply don’t fit in with the staff culture in your workplace, you will be let go from some jobs, or placed on an extended probationary period. It will hurt, it will feel horrible and it will make you feel useless and worthless. You will question why this had to happen to you when you never asked for it. But life isn’t fair and it teaches you lessons. You will find that job where you finally show some degree of organisational and social skills and when you find that job, and settle into it more and more, it will be the making of you.
Driving is unlikely to happen for you. With your spacial awareness difficulties, hand/eye coordination issues and motor difficulties, the task may be one that will prove too tricky to overcome. The great part about that? You get to experience the world differently. Yes, it may be inconvenient in the winter, especially on nights where it is pouring rain or snowing, but when you can, get the long walks in. You will start to appreciate the world and all its natural beauty. You wouldn’t be able to get that same experience from driving everywhere.
6. You will progress in stages.
You will have a hugely positive development with regards to your maturity starting from your mid-late twenties. You will spend a good few years trying to play “catch up” with friends who maybe reached the same milestones in their early twenties.
You will start to think more carefully about what you wear, what you want to do with life, how to budget etc. Ok, so these skills may come a little later than they may come for “typical” adults, but you are going to get there. And when you do, there’s going to be no stopping you!
The progress may “plateau” for a few years but all of a sudden your development will start to skyrocket again and you are going to be closer and closer to matching up to your peers of the same age.
7. Emotional regulation and sensory processing issues.
Oh dear. This is one that will continue to haunt you in to adulthood. You will have difficulties with emotional regulation all the way through life and this is one challenge that I truly believe is harder than in childhood.
Picture this: a child who is overwhelmed, crying and frustrated. Acceptable? Yes. An adult in their thirties who is terrified of being around balloons in case they burst and is constantly fighting the urge to put their hands over their ears if the kettle is boiling too loudly or the music is too noisy?
Not so much. This is the one element to dyspraxia that unfortunately I cannot offer any positives about. It will always be hard and it is the one aspect that people accept LESS the older you get. You will be accused of attention seeking when you burst into tears for the 8th time that day. But you can’t help it and just know that you are not alone – there are lots of others who have dyspraxia who are in the same boat.
8. Bed clothes and shoelaces.
You will learn new techniques that will help you put on bed clothes onto the duvet in seconds! And stress free at that! Putting on pillow cases are a little trickier initially but you will get there.
Shoelaces – you will have no problem in your twenties but when you hit your thirties you will appear to regress when it comes to this skill. You will find yourself tying them countless times a day and those things still won’t stay closed. But here’s a good thing – adults can also wear shoes that don’t have laces.
9. You are so much more than dyspraxia.
You are kind, caring, giving, creative, willing to learn, generous and so much more. Always remember that.
10. Never let anybody dull your sparkle.
You are you. Nobody else can do you. Never let anybody take your personality away from you. Always stay true to yourself and don’t ever feel like you have to change for anybody.