Recently, Dad has been doing a spot of redecorating in my room in order to make it more suitable and trendy for a guy of my age. As I am 18, my family are naturally looking for new ways to help improve my independence, so that I’m able to live life just as my peers do. Mum believes I could do everything I want to do, but even she readily admits that it might take me “a bit longer to catch up”. This means we all have to be realistic when it comes to my objectives, and that we have to start largely within the house. Where the kitchen is concerned, for example, we’re planning to put a worktop in at a level that is convenient for me, and where I would eventually be able to prepare my own food. Nowadays I can make cups of tea with steady kettle handling, but in recent years I have been offered various gadgets intended to make different kitchen processes easier for disabled people. These have included cradles that make tipping the kettle safer and knives that’d be easier to grip if I was spreading Marmite on my toast. I refused everything I was offered. It may have been because I felt slightly patronised, but in any case I can now spread and pour without any kind of hassle. For now I’m happy with that, but before long I want to be cooking, starting with simple dishes and then working my way up. It’s an ambition that occupies one of the top spaces on my “independence list”, as it were. The other has so far proven itself to be much more problematic.
I’ve tried to start conversations on the subject of learning to drive with Mum on various occasions, but she is understandably very worried and is always quick to stay quiet when I bring it up. You really have to push for an answer. Factors such as the cost of taking lessons and maintaining a car are among her concerns, but at the forefront of her mind seems to be safety. No matter where I go or how much I exert myself in the process, I will always end up totally exhausted. Even sitting in a car during a relatively short journey is enough to render me a floppy and useless mess. Imagine such a person at the wheel of a solid block of metal on the road! When I think of it that way, I do realise that I didn’t quite consider all eventualities when I fantasised so readily about getting myself from A to B. In addition to this, there’s also the small matter of my reaction times, which are slightly delayed and therefore not entirely ideal if you’re about to have any kind of car accident. Whilst I know that there are many schemes, adaptations and precautions available to the disabled, each designed to make motoring more practical and affordable for them, it might be a few years before I hit the road solo. In the meantime, I’ll continue reading and researching the matter to take myself closer to it, all while still having two definite ambitions to aim for, the other being to cook.
That’s why I should try to be positive, regardless of how far away some things might seem for now. Those two things won’t leave my mind, central as they are to independence of most people, let alone myself. Aside from these, the rest of the list of blank and waiting to be filled, so I need to be optimistic in the future and give more thought to what might be achievable. If something looks impossible, it probably isn’t – it’s most likely just a little further away, as Mum pointed out. If there’s one downside to these claims, it might be that I’m not always that good at moving from the sofa to act on them. Perhaps I ought to work on that first!