By Jenny Kerr
The time has finally come; the time that some people may dread!
I am officially the big 3-0!
I’m sure some of you, who are old enough, will remember the so called Y2K or Millennium bug. This was the name given to the bug that people believed would cause computers or software to misinterpret the first two digits of the year 2000 as 19, due to the coding of dates using only the last two digits of the year. Personally I feel that to some people, the feeling of dread towards getting older is similar to that feeling of dread people had towards the Y2K bug.
What is that feeling?
It’s the feeling of fear. The fear of not knowing what the future has in store for you….the fear of the unknown. The fear associated with the Y2K bug could be explained but many fears cannot. This does not mean that they do not exist and do not affect people in ways some of us can ever only imagine.
For me the fear of getting older is a fear that has yet to have a downside. As a child, the thought of growing older never really entered my mind. I was always too busy hanging out with my friends or, as is the case with most children growing up with a disability, travelling up and down to Dublin for different appointments. However, once I started hitting double figures, the urge to want more out of life became stronger.
Like many people who have a disability, I wanted the practical lifetime goals that some people who are able bodied may take for granted – practical things such as being able to enter a building without having to worry about the lack of wheelchair access or wheelchair facilities being provided in the building.
There were also more personal lifetime goals that for many years I thought were unachievable for people like myself – things such as being able to drive a car, live independently or even gain employment.
Although at times I have felt that my disability has prevented me from living some of my dreams in life, I feel that my lack of confidence in certain areas of my life has also played a part in my ability to achieve my lifetime goals.
However I feel now as I am getting older, that I am finally gaining the courage to fight for what I deserve in life.
It is thanks to the help of the different organisations I am involved in such as the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) and Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI) that I have started fulfilling some of my biggest lifetime dreams.
On the week that I turned the big 3-0 I was offered a 7 week work placement which I hope to be starting soon. So you see, life really does begin at 30!