This week I’m turning 19 and around this time of year, I often find myself and my family asking the same questions. If I was born on time would things be different? Was it due to the fact I wasn’t born early enough? Was I born too early?
I often wonder what my life would be like without Cerebral Palsy. Would I be more independent? Would I be at university studying occupational therapy? But the biggest question I ask is… Would I have faced as many battles and so many long processes just to get to school or to university? These ‘unexpected battles’ as I call them, can be really frustrating at times and are difficult to accept.
Growing up in today’s society means that we have particular expectations of how our future is going to play out. For example, I just expected that I’d eventually learn how to ride a bike on my own. When secondary school came, I just expected to be more independent expecting that I was going to get myself to and from school and when I thought of school, I saw myself walking around and not driving around in a chair. Just before my 17th birthday, I applied for my provisional licence thinking I’ll have a few lessons and then be driving within the year. Whenever I thought of university, I didn’t ever think about living at home I just had my eyes on the halls of residents.
When these life stages don’t play out the way I think they’ll play out and I’m faced by yet another ‘unexpected battle’ interpreting the situation around me can be hard. Some days I wish that I could have passed my driving test by now and be staying in the halls of residents and when I reflect on how much of a different journey I’ve taken. I realise how significant these events are. Event’s like this are major learning curves that help me to make sense of my journey and be prepared for future crossroads that are due to arise.
What I’m going to struggle with and what I’m not going to struggle with is not set in stone. Sometimes I don’t realise that the hurdle in front is a bit higher than the previous, and when I look around to see that my hurdle is bigger than not just the one behind but bigger then everyone else’s it can be a lot to take in…
But there’s always a way over that hurdle and with enough willpower you can not just jump over it but you can knock it, down!
The bigger the hurdle the more worthwhile the rewards and when I have faced that hurdle for longer than anticipated getting over it gives me the best feeling.
So, the answer is I don’t know, and I’ll never know how different my needs would be if I wasn’t born when I was. But what I do know is that if I wasn’t born when I was, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Down days are going to come and go because that’s life and we as humans have psychological needs for this. But just because I have one down day and one occasional fatigue day, doesn’t mean that I want CP to go away.
I often get asked -’If you could have one wish would you wish for a life without CP?’ The answer is no. Would I like to experience a day without CP? Certainly. Do I wish I could get over hurdles as easily? Of course, I do. But this doesn’t mean I want CP to go away it just means that at times I want things to be easier. I’m fortunate enough to have had a remarkable life so far with CP and have been given more opportunities like writing my blog today because of my CP.
My life probably would be different and the battles I have faced probably wouldn’t have been there but I wouldn’t want to change this. I’ve realised that at times I’ll never be prepared for how big the hurdle is but if I get over it that’s all that matters.
Thank you for reading,