Turning 50 and don’t give a monkey’s!

The last month or so has passed in a blur. Some of it is down to paid work, some down to unpaid work (advocacy) and the rest down to taking SEND calls and reflecting on them. Actually, some of it is also down to having fibromyalgia, but that’s a different subject altogether. I’ve also been undergoing some medical tests. Oh, I’m also reflecting on what I want/need to put down in an EdD proposal.

Most of what I do, I do because I choose to. I don’t take the ‘usual’ pathways in life. For a start, I’m about to turn 50 and don’t give two hoots about what others think of me. Thing is, on reflection, I never have. I’ve always been self-employed you see, so other than ensuring that I have complied with appropriate laws, there’s been no-one to tell me what to do.

Laws, an interesting subject. In my advocacy, I work with laws. Does it matter whether they are consumer laws, SEND laws or any other laws? I like law, but strangely, I never went for a law degree. I might if I don’t get accepted for an EdD, but I’ll think about that later.

So, EdD. What do I do? First and foremost, I am a parent. Secondly, I am an advocate. Thirdly, I am a SpLD specialist teacher. At nearly 50, I am on my third career. So what do I do an EdD in? All of it I suspect!

Recently, I had cause to ‘do lunch’ with an ASD lead from another county, as well as their expert by experience. My ‘doing lunch’ issues lead to the lady with autism asking ‘so when are you going to get your diagnosis?’ A half-hearted joke maybe, but I do have some strange traits! I think my lack of feeling constrained (in life in general) stem from having one foot or so in the Autie camp.

There is something rather nice about not feeling constrained. There’s also something very nice about not seeing why you should do A followed by B followed by C etc. I find that the ‘rules’ followed by NTs rather strange. Why do you have to do A first? Why can’t you go direct to M?

At 40, I joined the OU. I quit science at 14 and yet decided to do a Life Sciences degree. I didn’t see the need for an O level, or an A level. I was happy to go directly to degree-level and passed my 1st year with rough score of 75%. Not bad for the Grammar School dunce…..

My point is, I think, that social constructs organised by neuro-typicals are plain stupid. They constrain everything that you do, and not necessarily for the better. The current government are also strangely constraining the opportunities of the current/next generation. I am absolutely no brighter than when I left school as the dunce, the low/underachiever. Yet I have 2 ordinary and 1 Master’s degree & am considering an EdD.

The government’s focus on academic achievement is plain stupid to me. What if we all had Doctorates? What then? And if I gain a Doctorate, do I become more clever? I don’t think so in the least. It just means that I have been assessed by some pre-determined criteria that ticks a box.

I spent my earlier years doing as I pleased. I paid my bills and was self-sufficient. I enjoyed myself. I can’t enjoy myself in the same ways as I used to, because, quite frankly, I am in too much pain/too tired. So I study. It takes very little energy, but I can’t sit for too long. The fibro also means I have to keep re-reading everything to have it sink in. The days of having an ‘autistic’ memory have unfortunately gone. C’est la vie.

So, EdD? It makes sense to write a proposal around the SEND reforms. Anyone fancy being involved? I can’t guarantee that my proposal will make neuro-typical sense. I mean, how would I know what makes NT sense? I only know what makes sense to me! Oh, and as part of the EdD criteria, what would I be adding to, research-wise? That bit I can do!

I’m tired, achey and excited all at the same time. So stuff you government. I didn’t need an O level, an A level, or an ebacc or whatever it’s called. I needed time, desire and purpose. Ironically, I think it’s my propensity to fight against the machine that drives my desire, my wanderings through life. After all, it’s not my pay packet that gives me pleasure, but my own choices – including choosing my husband and choosing to take fertility treatment to get my two boys. And I don’t even have an O level in maths….

I am in despair at what is coming to pass politically. As someone who has an alternative view on life (apparently) and a lack of understanding hierarchy (who gives a toss, people are only people) and a free mind to follow unorthodox pathways (apparently, again), I cannot for the life of me understand why politicians have become so downright brainless and anal.


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