I am 39 years of age this year and as is true for many Autistic adults today I don’t feel I have lived my full potential. I don’t feel I am even living anything close to it now. My reasoning is well documented if you read many of my blogs together such as the Social Contract, Stigma and Loneliness, Medication Side Effects, living a Solitary Life, Social Exclusion in Practise, The Making of Comparisons and Negative Feedback Loops. If you go on Twitter and search for the hashtags of #ActuallyAutistic and #Autism you will find very easily many people describing the social challenges and systematic barriers they face. It can be very depressing.
I believe what is most clear to me now, is what the injustice is and what I can do about it. One of the most important things is having a home. I learnt that after experiencing homelessness last year. It’s clear the country is in dire economic straits and there isn’t much opportunity out there for people like me whether I’m working or not. The best thing I can do is stay well and keep the faith. I see being present, volunteering and writing my blog has opportunities to contribute to the greater good and God’s plan. I don’t know what God’s plan is except he wants to put the world to right.
I often feel I am missing out in life. It’s true, I really am when compared to people who have a family, wealth, a network of professionals and friends and a career that’s a true calling for them. It’s in moments of dwelling like that where I have thoughts of suicide. I try to remind myself I am actually very fortunate. I have a home, a fridge full of food, a garden to grow my plants, basic healthcare, a Bible, a Church and hobbies that keep me interested.
[ A gratitude list I keep in my bedside next to my bed ]
I believe if people didn’t see me as less worthy I would feel much better. I have to keep a thick skin. We live in a time where work and money is more important than love, kindness, health, the planet, or even the greater good. So I have to steady myself that humanity still has a long way to go before it’s more accepting of the Star Trek utopian ideals I have. We certainly have the technology and means for a much better world today. My blog about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Spiral Dynamics helps me keep it all in perspective and how I can help make a difference.
I hope for young Autistic people’s sake they live in a better world than I have. I do see some positive change but I also see much more exclusion as well. Perhaps once most work is automated, we will start to realise what’s important and care about each other a bit more. Though I believe the trend that fewer hands control the essentials and means to do things is a concern. We seem to be sleepwalking into potential unrest that might spark a painful revolution. Hopefully we will become a more democratic world but also one with leaders that have wisdom and not just short term popularity.
In the end, I return to my Christian Faith. The most important thing I can do is maintain my faith in God and try to live to Christ’s values as best I can. If I can spread some love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness and faith then I think God will see that as a life well lived. Eternal life in heaven awaits.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.2 Timothy 4:7-8, New Testament, Holy Bible
I was asked on social media if I could share the Gratitude list I wrote in the image above. A word document of it can be found here.