Finding My Way as a Soon-to-Be 20-Year-Old on the Autism Spectrum

I remember wishing time would speed up. I remember thinking that maybe as I got older, things would get a little easier. That maybe my autism would get easier. I thought that things would get better, that somehow I would outgrow my autism. I was 14 then, and I’m almost 20 now. I am older, and I was so wrong. I’ve outgrown some of my routines and meltdowns. Time has helped me “grow up” in some ways, but it’s also set me back some, too. I am a young adult learning her ways in this confusing world, but I’m also a young adult learning how to live with autism, and that in itself has its challenges for me.

I’m not a child anymore. I’m not where I use to be with meltdowns and fits about why I don’t want to go to school. But I still don’t quite feel like the 20-year-old adult my consecutive age says. I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m the young adult who can drive a car and go to the store by herself. But I’m still the girl with autism who needs her mom to take her to the dentist and can’t fully understand the concept of common sense. I’m the soon-to-be adult who doesn’t have to be home by a certain time at night because I don’t have a curfew. But I still can’t stay up past 9 because my body can’t do it and I need to stick to a routine.

I’m neither a child or adult. I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle. I remember those days when I believed I would worry less as I got older. I was wrong. I think about what is yet to come. I hope that one day I will be able to live on my own. Some days, I wish I could be 14 again. Everything seemed so much easier then because I had different struggles to work through.

But time has a way of teaching you how to hold onto what you have just a little while longer if you let it, because soon enough, I might be wishing to come back to these days, too. I’m just trying to find my way in this confusing world. I’m not a little girl, and I don’t feel like an adult. I’m somewhere in the middle, trying to understand and learn my role and what makes me happy.

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