Rethinking Success:

Yesterday, I wrote about how thinking outside the box has helped me live my life with Cerebral Palsy. As someone living with a disability, success can also look different. I have always had high expectations for myself. I figured that my life wouldn’t look much different than my peers. I wanted to hold a full-time job, get married, and perhaps have children in the future.

The problem with this mindset was that most of my peers didn’t have physical disabilities. It was unrealistic for me to expect that my life would be just like my non-disabled peers. CP presents unique challenges when it comes to accomplishing your goals.

In August of 2020, I moved into my first apartment. Finding accessible housing was difficult. After doing extensive research, I managed to find an apartment that, while not ideal, was workable. It was on the first floor and had no carpet. It didn’t have a roll-in shower, but using my bathtub transfer bench was a good temporary solution. I hope to have a roll-in shower in my apartment by the end of the year. I am very proud that I managed to move out of my parent’s house.

For much of my life, I was unsure if I’d be able to live in my own apartment. I feared that I might be forced to live in a nursing home or other facility. This wasn’t what I wanted to happen to me. For a non-disabled adult, a nursing home wouldn’t even be an option. Even though I have Cerebral Palsy, I didn’t want to live in a facility. I was glad that I was able to keep living in my hometown. It saddens me that many people with disabilities live in facilities instead of their communities.

Now that I have lived on my own for over a year, my next goal is to become employed. Over the past three years, I’ve been looking for work. I can’t work many standard entry-level jobs such as retail or fast food. I’m unsure if I’ll be able to work a traditional full-time job. This doesn’t mean I won’t ever have a job. A nine-to-five job may be too much for me. Fatigue is always present in my life. I want a career involving writing. I’d like to have the option to work from home, perhaps even a couple of days a week. My house is already accessible for my needs.

Writing is a flexible career. Flexibility is necessary for me as a disabled person. I could work from home or in an office. If I was fatigued, I could even work from my bed with my laptop. I could be a blogger, copywriter, or playwright. I’ve always loved writing, so to be able to turn it into a career would be a dream come true.

I may not achieve success in a typical way. I am used to having to think outside the box. Cerebral Palsy means that I don’t always follow the path that other people might. This doesn’t mean I can’t achieve my goals. It just means that achieving my goals will look different for me. No two people follow the same path in life, which is okay. Life is a journey for all of us, and we are all unique.

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