As of 23:02 tonight I will have officially been on this planet for 25 years! Becoming a quarter of a century old intimidates me, I’m overwhelmed and terrified and probably for the first time in my life I don’t really want to age up.
Turning 25 is scary for both practical and emotional reasons. It means I only have one more year to work as a Young Rep for Young Epilepsy, as once you hit 26 you’re no longer considered a YOUNG adult but rather just an adult. I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near there yet and I’m certainly not meeting any of the societal expectations that come with that title. The older I get the further I seem to be moving away from the standards I’ve set myself based on what our world says is correct. And it’s immensely tough, especially when I see my friends and family thriving in the ways I feel I should be.
However, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt as a 24 year old, it’s that life is not something to take for granted and birthdays just re-emphasise that. When I look back over this past year, so much yet so little has happened. The reality is I’ve spent most of it in and out of severe depression and on the surface I’ve made very little life progression. But as I write this in a slightly better head space, I’m feeling that perhaps 24 was just a foundation year, building up to 25.
Two months in to 24 I became a cyborg and begun to regain control of my seizures, the one thing that had held me back throughout 23. I realised exactly where I wanted to go career wise and how hard it would be to get there. I started working as a Young Rep, something which has been a catalyst in helping me regain my confidence. I built up the courage to join my local gaming group, consequently finding an amazing outlet and group of friends. And I even quit smoking.
Each of these things are fundamental to my progression; mentally, physically, socially and everything in between. This past year has been pretty damn rubbish, there’s no polite way to put it. But just as I found a sense of clarity and relativity shortly after my last birthday, I’m entering this new year of life with a sense of positivity. I can honestly say that for the first time in over 18 months I am feeling good and not just ok. I’m still being cautious, every time I finally seem to be on top of things something seems to knock me completely off balance and it’s this that initially turned me into the pessimist I am today. But if Arsenal can turn it around and finish the season with a trophy then so can I.
Being so depressed these past few weeks has been tough, as I’m able to see just how far I’ve come, just how good things are but a chemical imbalance in my brain means I can’t feel that. It sucks even more when I bare in mind the fact that no matter how many times I come to terms with my condition and accept my situation, it’ll never change. I’ll always be autistic, I’ll always have epilepsy and every decision I ever make will be at least partially determined by that. The reality is, life is not an even playing field and I got dealt a really bad hand. But I really do plan on taking life’s lemons and turning them into the world’s best lemonade (even if I can’t drink it due to acid reflux).
I know things won’t stay sunny and life will continue to be hard but, putting my actual age aside, I’m looking forward to this next year. I like to believe in some form of fate, the idea that we each have set destinations to reach but the journey we take to get there is up to us and I really do feel as though my next stop is just around the corner.
Here’s to another quarter of century of life!