Invariably the question becomes: “Why did you buy a house so quickly?”
Real short answers:
“The house called my name.” (Not literally. I assume you know that but one never takes anything for granted).
“It seemed like a good thing to do.”
Real long answer:
“I learned about NLD (nonverbal learning disorder) not that long before. Unable to find one damn therapist—from psychiatrist to LCSW who could explain anything about NLD to me, (or explain why the writings on NLD were wrong, and that I hadn’t lived my 56 years in a state of self-delusion where I thought I had achieved much, had many friends, lived a good productive life), I decided to become a hermit and live in self-imposed solitude.”
There is much wrong with this answer: I had never been delusional, had achieved, did have great friends, and lived, albeit not every hour, a good productive life. By giving into this lack of self-worth I was achieving what Byron Rourke and other writers about NLD said adults who lived with undiagnosed NLD achieved—I was becoming depressed.
By running from New York I was running from my future. Blogging was becoming mainstream and important. My blog, this one, was the “highest rated baby boomer blog” by Technorati (the rating system of the day). It was in the top one percent of all blogs, and was taught at least two universities—both in Britain.”
Dig deeper into the truth beginning of most real long answer:
“I’m writing a separate post about the mistakes I made after I put my apartment on the market. Never understood before that as independent and “stubborn” I can appear, I am at heart a people pleaser.
My writings, my best writings, were about New York and/or my parents. I loved and love New York beyond reason. No matter what excuses I make for no longer living in the city, I belong there. But do I? I’m one of the many who thought gritty New York was paradise. Of course I didn’t know any better and could afford to live well then.”
First mistake I made after or while moving:
“As I moved and watched my blog and myself get further and further away from our glory days, I watched new bloggers, many with not as much raw talent, strategize and monetize their blogs.
I’m incapable of thinking of the big picture when it comes to me so I had no idea how to make anything more of my blog. Fortunately Psychology Today came calling.
It’s probably me. I’m probably one of the few bloggers for that incredible magazine who had a blog that people read, and wasn’t able to take it further. So I stopped blogging for it. Too damn depressing.”
“I had much to learn about NLD and how it affect(ed), affect(s) me. In those day, the last of the Oughts and the beginning of the Millennium double digits, there weren’t many adults with NLD who had more than one college degree or had achieved some or much professional success around. Fewer still who majored in friendship. It was lonely. I was lonely.
I made a horrible hermit. Isolation doesn’t suit me and for the first time in my life I realized that I would have to seek out friends with all the vigor I had never seeked out men. Still, dear reader, I was often pursued so this whole smiling and making small talk solely for the point of meeting people was new to me.
I learned a lot about myself in the process of making friends. I learned that I will always hate large gatherings where I don’t know many of the people or at least the guest of honor. I learned that I’m good sometimes great at smaller gatherings where my dry wit, sense of irony, and maybe playfulness can shine.
I vowed to accept all invitations. That was new to me, and I wasn’t always successful in accomplishing this.
All of this was accompanied by voices in my head screaming: ‘OMG, I have NLD, I can’t, I really can’t be a person others want to know.” I really don’t hear voices screaming in my head. It’s more like a mumble when I’m alone and depressed. I had never known what the ‘d’ word really meant. I did now.
Most of the time I was able to overcome my ‘d’ and the ever accompanying anxiety. I feel funny talking about anxiety since it has become such a hot topic in blogs and Facebook.
I don’t remember life without anxiety. I know I wasn’t until Second Grade and both my horrible handwriting and lack of organizational skills became fodder for my teacher, Mrs. Lawrence who loved nothing more than making me feel horrible.
My horrible handwriting no longer bothers me as I only hand write an ocassional greeting card (and sadly try to get out of that) and the check that goes along with said card. Or my wind & hail insurance check (much too much money)—and who cares what that looks like? They should allow you to card it so I can get points, miles or cash back, but…..
My lack of organizational skills still bothers me. More than ever if I were to be truly honest. The more I attempt to organize the worse everything looks. I feel like a hoarder who absolutely doesn’t hoard. Hard to explain that one. To be truly honest I seem to hoard shopping bags and organizational supplies. The supplies never work the way I want them to.
This all causes my anxiety to ratchet upwards to the sky. Then I realize the absurdity of being anxious because I’m far from perfect, and give myself permission to embrace my imperfections. (I’m sure I do this though I don’t know one person who really knows what it means).
I have reached an age where I can relax. Rest on my laurels (whatever they are). Travel.
But in 1999 I promised myself that I would produce a book. A good book. One worth reading.
I intend to make good on that promise.
The intent and content of the book keep changing. That’s a problem.
Not a problem—because I keep changing. As I’m aging, and aging sorta gracefully I must say, I’m learning more and more about myself. Self-absorption. A writer’s best friend.
I can’t write about other people and their NLD for two reasons: It’s their story to tell. When people like Rourke attempt to do studies on adults they get it so backwards.
I know other adults are writing about NLD now and that’s a very good thing. I want it on record that I began writing about it first.
I was mid-life for so long; I can’t even pretend to be anymore. You know how the ride home always feels shorter because you know the route? I don’t ever want to know the route by heart. I want life to go on and on, not in a boring seen it all before way, but ‘am I really discovering this for the first time?’ way.
Life is about discovery. It’s about growth.
I didn’t know about NLD until I was a month from 57. I had and have a lot of learning to do.
But when I think about it I can’t believe all the things that I have learned in the past decade plus a year. I shook up my life. Changed it completely. I’m a bit wiser now. A bit more in tune with myself.
I’m proud. NLD can knock you down just when you think the wave has reached shore.
Those of us who get up and go back to catch the next wave, we’re winners. All of us. And we, or me at least, did it without help.
Damn I resent the therapists who told me: ‘you’re doing so well. Why rock the boat?’ Really they were saying; ‘you’re older now. Who the f—k cares?’
I do because I’m not leaving this earth until I’ve accomplished my three goals: to have fun; to somehow become organized; and to write a highly publishable book.
This concludes my return to serious blogging dissertation. Oh, and I think that I moved because it was time to leave the nest that is the Island of Manhattan. Yes, to a born and bred New Yorker, the city can be the biggest cocoon of all.”