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On ambition, disability and having it all

June 28, 2012

This is gonna be quick and rough. 

There’s a lot of stuff going around at the moment on the subject of ‘having it all’, particularly as a woman. By many measures, I don’t ‘have it all’. I don’t have a degree. I’m not a ‘professional’. I am not likely to ever get above the grade or level I’m currently on at work. I don’t yet have children.

But here’s the thing. I feel like life is pretty damn good at the moment. Success can be measured in many different ways, and by my measures, I’m doing well. I like my job. I have four wonderful partners with whom I’m buying on a house.

As I understand it, I will never be successful by my parents’ standards because I’m not a professional and I don’t want to be. I’m becoming more okay with this over time. I don’t mind not living up to their standards, because they’re not mine, but I do mind disappointing them.

I wonder if my different priorities have anything to do with my ADD. Having ADD means that I can’t rely on my brain to do complex thinking on anything other than it’s own timetable. My job is often repetitive and involves a lot of routine work, done to a fixed standard operating procedure. It’s perfect, really. The way my life has worked out, I have a job that is varied enough to be interesting, whilst allowing me to do truly boring and repetitive tasks on days that my brain just won’t engage past first gear.

I can then engage with more complex subjects and educate myself in my own time, on my own terms, and without ever having to force my brain to do things it can’t do. Because there’s nothing that makes me feel more disabled than someone saying, ‘Well, you could concentrate fine half an hour ago, don’t be silly! You must be making it up.’

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