30 Days of MD: Would I Have Preferred a Life Without Disability?

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Photo courtesy of Ross Hovey

Day 1 of 30

This is Ross Hovey’s (@thesmartchap_rosshovey) story:

Would I have preferred a life without disability? The simple answer to this question is “Yes.” But do I grudge having spinal muscular atrophy? Not really, as I don’t know anything different.

I think that is a huge factor that shapes the outlook on life of people living with disabilities since birth. Those who become disabled know what they might be missing. They suddenly experience a different world — a world in which those born with their disability are perhaps more accepting, more patient, more tolerant.

Having SMA definitely shaped my life, but not necessarily in a negative way. I’ve done the same things a lot of non-disabled people have done, and in some cases, more. I had a good childhood, and teenage years, and went to university. I had many holidays and drunken shenanigans. I’ve had a good social circle for the majority of my life, and I’ve built a 20-year career in a large corporation. I own a home, have seen a lot of our planet on vacations, and I follow my beloved Liverpool FC home and away.

If I were not disabled, then I would have left home a lot earlier than I did. I’m not sure I would have gone to university. If I did, I probably would’ve partied a lot more, and maybe incurred some debt! I think I may have had a different career. I’m not sure what, but I don’t think it would have been office-based. Maybe a chef? Maybe lots of different jobs…

I think I’d have probably lived overseas, or at least traveled as a tourist more. I’d like to think I’d also have met the woman of my dreams and had a family, which is what feels like the missing part of the jigsaw of my life.

A life without SMA would have been different, but not necessarily better. I think my outlook is that we are only here once. So, regardless of our disabilities, make the most of life. Instead of dwelling on what could have been, I celebrate all that is.

Muscular Dystrophy News’ 30 Days of MD campaign will publish one story per day for MD Awareness Month in September. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #30DaysofMD, or read the full series.