Tag Archives: Future

In Ten Years’ Time

I had the “kitchen table talk” yesterday. This is the official term for the meeting with your local social consultant to determine your need for services funded through the community support act. The meeting went well, though not much is clear. I’ll be eligible for supports, but I first need to go to the mental health agency near the tiny village to discuss my treatment there. After all, if I go into day treatment or assertive community treatment, part of the services from mental health will overlap with supports I’d be eligible for through the community support act. I’ll push my psychologist to get me an appointment with mental health as soon as possible. The consultant officially has to make a decision on community supports within six to eight weeks.

This has me looking ahead to my life with my husband. I hope to move in with my husband this summer. My mother-in-law had somehow gotten the idea that I’ll be leaving the institution in August, because she asked me how I felt about discharge. I have no clue where she got the idea that I’ll be discharged this August from, but I hope she’s right. After the kitchen table talk, I am somewhat more excited about leaving the institution than I was before. It’s still scary, but it’s a little less scary at least.

I was just looking at the 30-day recovery challenge from BelieveInRecovery.com. ONe of the challenges is to describe where you hope to be in ten years. I already wrote a letter to my future self in 2014. Today, I am going to take it a little easier and just fantasize about my life in ten years’ time.

Ten years ago, I resided in an independent living training home for the disabled. I had made the decision to postpone university till 2007, but had not yet found something to study for 2006. The idea that I am autistic had not been picked up by the staff yet. I was still, in other words, “just blind”. And miserable.

Now, ten years later, I’m not as miserable but still not very happy. I hope that in ten years, I’ll be more comfortable in my own skin than I am now. I obviously hope that I’ll have lost the almost 20kg that I’m overweight.

In the past ten years, if you look at the larger scheme of things, not much has changed. My parents at one point came to talk to my doctor at the locked unit and told him that I’d gone from the rehabilitation center for the blind to the training home and from the training home into a psychiatirc hospital. They overlooked the three months that I’d lived independently, but in the larger scheme of things, how much do these matter?

I hope to change more in the ten years to come than in the past ten years. However, I’m afraid to dream big now. I mean, in an ideal world, I’d go back to school and complete a program in counseling or psychology. Not to be an employed counselor, but just for the knowledge of it. I’d be doing volunteer work helping people navigate the social services field. I’ll have written and published my autobiography. Maybe I’ll do some freelance writing – if I can manage to learn to type properly. I had at least five typeos in that sentence.

One thing that changed within the past ten years and that I hope won’t change within the next ten years, is my relationship status. Ten years ago, I was single and clueless about relationships. Now, I’m still clueless but apparently doing an okay job at loving someone. I hope to still love and be loved by my husband ten years from now.

Fifty Years From Now

In the future… This is this week’s prompt from Finish the Sentence Friday. The future could be next week or next month or next year or fifty years from now. As I am currently in a bit of an anxious mood regarding my physical health, I am more than aware of my finite existence here on earth. This however also got me to buy a book, really to distract myself but it ties in nicely with the theme, about women who survived breast cancer twenty to fifty years past diagnosis. (No, I don’t think I have breast cancer.) Even though I am not the healthiest person in the world, it is very well possible that I’ll live for fifty more years. For this post, I am going to pretend I am 79 and look back at my life.

It is currently 2066. I am 79. I have lived a much longer life than as a twentysomething I expected to. There have been many times I thought I wouldn’t live for another year. Yet here I am in old age.

I look back on a happy marriage with my husband. We have been living in our home in the tiny village for fifty years. When the housing corporation wanted to get rid of it and my husband earned enough money, we bought the house. It now has a bathtub, which was pretty much the only thing I wanted to get added to its interior fifty years ago. Of course, now that I’m old and my mobility is failing, I can’t use it anymore.

I look back on a nice volunteering career for myself. In fact, I still volunteer. I am a language-learning buddy for an immigrant, just like my grandma was when she was my age. I haven’t earned any sort of royal recognition, but that could be because I changed volunterring careers so often I can’t say I’ve served a particular community for long enough. nO, that was a joke. If I live for another twenty years, five months and twelve days, I’ll meet the mayor because of my 100th birthday. I do plan to live that long now that I got this far, just like my grandma did, only without the cognitive decline please.

Speaking of fame though, I did get some international recognition by publishing my memoir. It wasn’t titled Some Former Preemies Will Go to University after all, because that title was ironic, referring to my lack of successful college studies. As it turned out, I did earn a college degree. It was in language and cultural studies at the university I tried studying linguistics at too. The same professor still taught the intro to linguistics class that I had completed half of just before I ended up in the psychiatric hospital in 2007. Since I didn’t go to graduate school, my sister is still the only one of our generation to have earned a Master’s degree. I don’t care about that graduate degree though, as I mostly studied for the fun of it and to prove myself that I could. After graduating, I now regularly attend sit-in classes in education, psychology and sociology. My heart’s still with the social sciences, but I still can’t do statistics.

I just mentioned the psychiatric hospital. It’s a place I’d rather not revisit. Its treatment methods have “advanced” to a level worse than they were 100 years ago. Instead of getting a sembleance of care, psychiatric patients are just drugged into submission. We have better psychiatric drugs now, at least by the sane population’s standards. There are more of them too and much more people taking them, whether they want it or not. Unfortunately, the neurodiversity and mad pride movements are dead now. The curebies got their way. I can’t say society is a better place for it.

Technolgy has evolved quite a bit in the last fifty years, obviously. I can now easily take pictures with a camera that gives me spoken directions. Oh, this probably doesn’t sound that advanced to my 29-year-old self, but it opened quite the world to me. There are great imaging tools that work with screen readers now. Still doesn’t sound advanced, but I lost pace with technology several decades ago. Even though I was pretty tech savvy as a teen, I was quite a bit behind fifty years ago already, let alone now. Thankfully, I did learn to use a smartphone or I would’ve lost track much sooner than I did. My husband still keeps pace with technology, of course. He’s 77 now and “drives” an autonomous car. He didn’t like it at first, but now that he’s getting old himself, he finds it quite relaxing.

As I look back to 2016, I’m glad I made the choices I made that year. It took more than just 2016 to get physically healthy, but I did set my first steps in the right direction. I also finally left the psychiatric institution. As I said, it isn’t a nice place now, so I’m so glad I left before it deteriorated. Besides, if I hadn’t, I might not have lived this life with my husband.

Healing Quotes: Looking Fear in the Face

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

We are often afraid of what the future might hold. At least I am. Today, I don’t feel like taking the leap and preparing for living with my husband at all. I’d rather choose stability, even though ultimately, standing still means going backwards in life.

When I look back at my life, I often tend to look at my life experiences with a level of sadness or anger. How much more will life hand me, if I’ve already been through this?

Another way of looking at it is, I’ve been through it and survived. This means I am strong. If I’ve been able to handle what I have, why won’t I be able to handle the next hurdle in life?

Another thing is, of course, that uncertainty is scary, but without taking risks, we won’t go forward, and without going forward, we slide backward. I believe I read it in this book I mentioned of poems by a rape survivor, but not sure. Wherever I read it, I read that there are generally two kinds of people in life: those who warn you about all the risks of following your dreams, and those who encourage you to take the chances that following your dreams will present you with.

I have generally been trying to stay on the safe side, not taking risks but thereby not taking chances either. A few of the chances and risks I took, have not turned out well. For example, I went to university in 2007 and fell flat on my face. Then again, does that mean that taking chances and risks is altogether bad?

I took the chance and the risk of transferring from the city institution to my current small town institution. It hasn’t been an altogether good choice, but opportunities have arosen from my taking this chance/risk too. For example, day activities are generally better here than in the city institution.

I tend to choose stability over opportunity, but maybe that needs to change a bit. I’ve gone through a lot already and survived, so doesn’t this indicate that I am strong enough to handle the future?

What I’d Put in a Time Capsule #TuesdayTen

As Lisa of The Golden Spoons writes, in December of 2014, a time capsule was found in Boston, which dates back to 1795. I also heard that in 1938, people created a similar time capsule (I don’t know whether it’s been opened yet). In 1998, people all over the Netherlands wrote letters to the future, a selection of which was published in a book and the rest of which will be opened in 2098.

Lisa asks what we would put in a time capsule if we could create one. The big problem is that technolgy advances so fast that the technology of today will be useless by 2235. So I’d have to resort back to low-tech stuff because they probably wouldn’t be able to open the text file in which I write my post now. So here goes what I’d put in.


  1. A letter. I’d have to print it out because today’s Microsoft Office can’t even read documents from 1995, so I bet the technology of 2235 will have big problems with the old-fashioned typing I do, as I said. Like Lisa, I would write who I am and explain about the contents of the box.

  2. A copy of my blog. I don’t know whether I even want to include my old blog. You know, the one I always just refer to as “the old blog” and refuse to ever link to even though it’s still online. Maybe I would.

  3. My old diaries. I’m afraid they have been typed in that 1995 MS Word format that Word 2013 can’t read (they date back to 1999 but I was really old-fashioend in terms of technology), so a print copy would have to do then. It’s going to be a big time capsule. I won’t ever publish my diaries online (well, except for that one entry I published for a writing prompt a while back), but I don’t care what the people of 2235 think of me. My diaries are written in Dutch.

  4. Music. I only have a small selection of recent songs and they are not a representation of what’s hot today, but well.

  5. A picture of myself just so people know my face. Not that anyone on my blog knows except if they find me on social media, as I still haven’t gotten my husband to send me a recent pic of myself, but well.


  6. A Braille letter typed by hand. Knowledge of the Braille alphabet is declining among blind people with the advancement of text-to-speech technology, so who knows whether it still exists by 2235.

  7. A Braille display, for the same reason as above but it’s actually current technolgoy.

  8. My list of medications. I wouldn’t be able to include the medicine itself as it’d go off, but I’d love to educate the people of 2235 about what nut cases like me get prescribed today. I bet they’d laugh their butts off.

  9. My phone. Not that it’s particularly hot in 2015, as I have had a Samsung E1130 since probably 2011, but well.

  10. Money. I’d be curious to know whether the Euro still exists by 2235 – or even 2035, but I may find that one out as I will probably still be alive by then.

The Golden Spoons

A Letter to the Future

This week’s prompt from Mumturnedmom is “a letter”. I have written several posts that are letters or that are about writing letters on this blog so far. Rather than link up an old post, however, I’m going to take on a new challenge and write a letter… to the future. There is or at least used to be this site called FutureMe, where you could write a letter and have it E-mailed to yourself on a specific date in the future. Writing letters to the future is more challenging than writing letters to the past, which I already did on this blog. After all, I know what the past was like, and I don’t know what the future will be like. However, here’s my attempt at a letter to myself ten years from now.

Dear Astrid,

How are you? I am doing okay, but I hope you’re doing even better. Remember me? It’s your 28-year-old self. You know, the one with all the mental health struggles, residing in an institution. I hope you’re doing better in the mental health department than I am.

Where do you live now? Do you still live in the small town large institution? Or have you moved on towards living with your husband? I hope you’re still married to him and will be for many years to come.

Are Harry and Barry, our pet cats, as mischievous with you as they are with me now? I hope not. Actually, I hope that they’ve grown into the kind of quiet cat my parents own. Then again, chances are slim, as Morse was a lot quieter when he was a kitten than Harry and Barry ever were.

Do you, at age 38, still miss out on being a mother, perhaps even more than I do? Or do you feel at peace with childlessness now? Of course, since I don’t know, maybe you actually have a child! That would be quite interesting. Most likely, you’ve at least become an aunt.

Speaking of my sister, did she start in a Ph.D. program yet, perhaps even having earned her Ph.D. already? Does she have a nice historical archiving job? Is she married to her boyfriend yet?

I hope you too are more active than I am. Maybe you have a volunteer job. Have you started on that biography writing course I so want to start yet? Maybe you’ve finished writing your autobiography! If so, is it still titled Some Former Preemies Will Later Go to University?

Maybe you’ve found yourself on an entirely different path than I can imagine right now. With my hypochondriac tendencies, I still wonder whether you’re even alive. But if you are, I hope you’ll find this – supposing WordPress still exists -, and respond.

Yours,

Astrid

mumturnedmom

Worrying About Your Disabled Child’s Future

Today, I came across a post by the mother of an adult with Down Syndrome on the topic of birthdays and more specifically, crying on your child’s birthday because you’re worried about their future. I left a lengthy comment, on which I want to expand here.

My parents probably cried on my birthdays too. At least they were usually emotional. I don’t know whether they worried about my future, but they sure thought about it a lot. I survived the neonatal intensive care unit with several disabilities, some of which wouldn’t be diagnosed until many years, decades even, later. I had had a brain bleed, retinopathy of prematurity, and a few other complications. My parents knew soon that I would be severely visually impaired, possibly blind. I don’t know whether they knew or cared about my other disabilities.

My parents started thinking about my future early on. They started communicating to me about my future early on. At age nine, I knew that I was college-bound and had to move out of the house by age eighteen. I don’t know whether it’s normal to plan so far ahead for a non-disabled child. My parents didn’t do this with my younger sister as far as I know.

It is understandable. With non-disabled children, independent living and college or employment are the default. Positive parents, we’re told by the disability community, keep the bar of expectations high, so they expect the same from their disabled children that they do from their non-disabled children. To be honest, I hate this attitude, which sends the message that to be successful is to meet up to non-disabled standards. We aren’t non-disabled, for goodness’ sake.

Let disabled children be children please. I understand it if parents worry about their child’s future, especially in societies that don’t have socialized health care and if the child is severely disabled. I understand that these worries get somehow communicated to the child. There’s no way of preventing this. What you can do, is minimize the worrying as much as posoible and turn it into positive but also unconditionally accepting encouragement.

Letter to My Twelve-Year-Old Self

When reading journaling prompts, some ask the journaler to go back into the past or spring forward to the future. There is in fact FutureMe, a site that has you write letters to yourself that will be E-mailed to you on a set date in the future. This is an interesting experiment, because it allows the future self to see what the past self was like without bias. Then again, writing to your past self is a good way to reflect on how your life has changed. This is a letter to my twelve-year-old self.

Dear twelve-year-old Astrid,

This is you speaking, fifteen years on. I am 27-years-old now and looking back on your life. I see your struggles. You are becoming aware of your social and emotional problems, yet needing to hide the their true extent because showing would mean you’re stupid. Let me assure you, you’re not stupid. You are autistic, and many people who have the cognitive abilities you do, are.

You’ve just received the report from Dr. M, the educational psychologist who evaluated you in what would become the final and successful attempt at getting you a recommendation for mainstream schooling. As you are aware, he recommended you use the remainder of the school year to sit in with a mainstream class to see if it’d work. Last month, you also went to the open house at the academic magnet secondary school/grammar school your sister’s friend’s big sister is attending. You are excited about going there. I appreciate that. I admire your optimism, giving each new start a new chance for success. At 27, I’m quite disillusioned. Grammar school was pretty bad, but I know you persevered. I wish I had that capacity now.

At the same time that you are preparing to go to mainstream grammar school, you fantsize about getting help for your social and emotional problems. I admire you for having devised your own tretment goals and thinking of ways to reach them. Sadly, you didn’t get help with this. I would’ve liked to tell you that I do, but let me say, psychiatric institutions are not great. Back in your day, there was a documentary about a young woman who was too intelligent for the system for people with intellectual disabilities but didn’t fit in with the mental health system either. You feared, or maybe you hoped, that you’d one day be her, because in the end she was accepted into a suitable treatment facility. I identify strongly with her, although I’m no longer locked up.

I know life isn’t easy for you being twelve. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that it’ll get better. You hope to be a mathematician or linguist when you are my age. While I did study linguistics briefly, I had to dorp out due to mental health problems. I ended up in a psychiatric institution, and I’ve still not found the right treatment or care.

I know you struggle with losing your vision. I still do. I haven’t become completely, totally blind yet, but I can only see a little bit of light now. A few months ago, I went to have surgery to hopefully restore some sight, but it failed. The good news is, accepting blindness will become easier. I still struggle, but not nearly as much as you do.

Oh, and friendships will also get easier. I know you don’t have any friends. Guess what? I’m married now. While I don’t have any friends besides my husband either, I do have some connection to other people. You know, the Internet will come into your life, and this is great. Through the Internet, I’ve been able to connect with other people and find out tht I’m not alone on this journey. There are other children like you, and there are adults like me. This is sad, but it may help you feel less alone.

Keep on fighting, Astrid. I know life ahead will be hard for you, and even now I find it hard to appreciate the accoplishments you were so badly looking forward to, but as I said, I admire your perseverance. Without that, I would not have been where I am now.

With love,/P>

Your 27-year-old self