If life were like college…sounds like wishful thinking, doesn’t it? Well, for me it’s a vision born from a deep internal need I have for structure and purpose. I realized long ago that the part of me with Asperger’s Syndrome was craving a schedule to live by. Not just busy work or a job that was just that: a job. What I craved most was purpose. Why? Because I lived for years with no clear answers as to what purpose I had in this world. Even when I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, the doors to new possiblities were opened, but I still had many questions that needed answering.
Everything I learned from secondhand sources left me feeling informed but, dissatisfied. I had a great time in college, but I’m in the real world now. I wondered how I could take the best elements of college and apply them to my post-graduation life. Well, I believe there’s a way for me to have the best of both worlds.
Real life can be like college. Everything can be a learning experience and there’s always a chance for lessons to be learned. Of course, if your priorities are out of balance or you’re not really enjoying life, then your experiences probably won’t be very pleasant. I’ve found that it takes a certain amount of childlike wonder combined with a grain of salt, a willingness to learn, and good old-fashioned hope to really make the most of this life.
I’ve felt this way ever since I learned about the difficult odds facing people with Autism. According to http://www.autismnow.org, only 32.5% of young adults with autism spectrum disorders currently work for pay. Gainful employment and purpose are hard to come by for Aspies, so it’s no surprise that I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted to be after graduation. I took a leap of faith when I started this blog, and it turns out that my faith was justified.
My primary purpose turned out to be that of an educator with a unique background, qualified to show the world one person’s experience of living on the Autism Spectrum, a Lesson Plan for Life. Not universal by any means, but offering a unique insight into how someone born on the Spectrum can rise above preconceived notions and live a full and engaged life. Just like college classes, it hasn’t been easy, and some days are better than others. However, just like all of my student experiences, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Instead of meeting at the campus quad, I can meet at my favorite coffee house, or even in someone’s living room! A classroom can be found anywhere there’s a meeting of the minds. Conventions and seminars are a perfect opportunity to meet other potential like-minded students of life. Brainstorming solutions for problems in the world can be a great life project that can be rewarding if drive and passion are present. There are different possibilities to what can be accomplished; each one is different, based on the different dreams, goals, and visions of people.
My vision of a world where people on the Autism Spectrum are welcomed with respect and tolerance is becoming a reality, thanks to discoveries and lessons I’ve learned. I feel like I’m showing the world an example of what Aspies can contribute to this world. Now, I wonder…do you believe that there are exciting new ways to learn about the world that will make you feel like you’re back in college? Are you curious as to how you can teach the world something from your heart that makes you feel alive with passion and purpose? If you had the chance to share something you learned, what would be your Lesson Plan for Life?
Today’s musical inspiration is one of my favorite Rock and Roll anthems: an electrifying standard by Queen: “Don’t Stop Me Now”- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgzGwKwLmgM