What has being Autistic Taught Me?
Answer: How to Navigate Life on my own terms.
While the question is “What has being Autistic taught me” I believe it’s more what being Autistic is teaching me, because as I see it, not only life on the spectrum, but life in general is a lifelong journey of learning. One where half the lessons have and still do occur outside the classroom walls, in real ever evolving time and the only passing mark is if you can successfully navigate each situation without too much embarrassment or at the very least learn from your experiences. Whether that’s learning how to navigate everyday situations like making phone calls or communicating with others at work; or seeking an understanding into what another person’s perspective may be or understanding into a situation that sometimes seems just slightly out of reach of one’s understanding, or perhaps you just get that understanding only to realize that there’s always something else to be figured out.
In this process, there are also things I sought out to achieve on my own like attending post-secondary school, navigating working and seeking meaningful connections that have equally taught me a lot about life, understanding others and my place in the world. This all has come from my own desire to be a part of it all and navigate it to the best of my ability.
Good Things Come to Those Accept Their Slower Pace:
What’s come from this willingness to take on these experiences is the realization that in order for me to successfully navigate them I’ve had to figure out my own way of approaching each situation and doing so on my own terms. Which as in the case of my academic life, it’s come through modifying my course load so I won’t get totally overwhelmed by the amount of work and therefore successfully finish the program. While working I’ve realized that often the old adage holds true, especially in my position, that “slow and steady wins the race”. I approach my tasks diligently and methodically making sure to double check the details and do so to the best of my ability. At home, one of the biggest lessons in all this, one that sometimes I still battle with on occasion, has been dropping the need to compare myself or pace to that of other family members, which is a rather tough one and it’s taken me years just to get this far. Whatever the case may be I’m learning that with a little extra patience towards myself I get to where I need to be eventually, and have been able to manage every wonderful accomplishment that’s come my way.
Above all else, by embracing my own pace and accepting this wonderfully, uniquely challenging way of navigating life I have moved closer to accepting myself. The big A word we are all seeking in our lives, and one through different experiences are working towards.
So, there you have it… my not so simple answer on what being Autistic is teaching me.