“Figuring Out What ‘Normal’ Means to Me”
There is a tiny part of me that hungers for the kind of normalcy most women my age have achieved — a mortgage, a husband, children. But another, larger part knows I’m wired a bit differently than that.
Last fall I returned to the East Coast bringing with me only my trusty compact car and a U-Haul trailer that contained my entire “life” on the West Coast — with all its failed hope of new beginnings.
I moved to the other side of the country to make my marriage work, and it didn’t. But I found my career again.
The East Coast is home for me. It’s where I was raised, where my father and sister live, where there are four seasons. Each day here, the palm trees and perennial sun in my rear view mirror appear further and further away.
Since the move, my New York acquaintances have wondered, “Are you crazy?” “You realize winter is coming, right?” They marvel at what a big move it was — the only place farther being Hawaii or Alaska.
Little do they know that I am used to frequent changes. It’s staying still, living in one place that’s foreign to me and my ADHD brain.
I tell them it was for a job. It was a raise! An overall better gig! It was close to my father and sister. All of these reasons make far more sense to the neurotypical population than my inherent need for movement.
Winter has since arrived, and I’ve settled into my new apartment. For the first time, I have my own space where I can wear pajamas freely and do the dishes when I please. On the West Coast, home was a single room with a shared bathroom — where every choice had to be run by the leaseholder first.
“You can settle down,” my father tells me.
He pauses when I remain silent. “Settle down, and buy a place. Things will feel different when you have your own place.”
There is tiny part of me that hungers for that kind of normalcy that most women my age have achieved — a mortgage, a husband, children, annual family vacations. It would be nice to be part of that club where you share each other’s name, a roof, and a life together.
But the larger part now accepts that I’m wired a bit differently. Rather than fighting against that current, I should go with the flow.
So I remain quiet. I don’t say anything to my father in response. I don’t tell him this will be my last move. Instead I accept that they may be another big change or two in me — another new job or romance that may draw me to another ocean. And it’s comforting to know that I can go anywhere when I decide the time is right. I am the mistress of my own ever-changing fate.