I should have written this yesterday, but I was not in the full writing capacity I felt I needed to be to write this to the level I feel I need to be to do so.
On Saturday I woke up in Joplin. My journey had spanned 10 days and now my final presentation of the first half of my month would be at the TouchPoint offices in Joplin.
The presentation on Saturday felt as if that was going to be my last presentation of my life. I dislike this mindset I have, but since I have the, "past, present, and oblivion" mindset it truly felt as if this was it. I could look at my calendar and know that on Tuesday (today) I would be presenting twice, but on Saturday I could not see this.
That presentation in Joplin went well and I was on top of my game. The questions that were asked in the Q & A segment at the end echoed the continuing need for awareness and understanding in the education system and medical professionals.
On the drive home I got really sad. Finally, after ten days, I was processing the stories I had heard and the impact I might be having. On one night a parent stopped me at a gas station and stated that she, "Liked my presentation from last year". This blew me away as someone remembered me from 10 months ago! Yet, this event was overshadowed by all the stories I heard from parents.
Another thing that was on my mind was the Supercross race that was being held in Saint Louis that night. I had been to so many in a row, but I didn't buy a ticket for the event as I didn't know what time I would be getting back home. I kept the thought alive that I might drive in and buy a ticket the night of the event, but as I neared Saint Louis and utter exhaustion set in I knew that if I went to event I might very well fall asleep at the event. Because of this I skipped the event which wasn't as bad as the anticipation of missing the event.
The drive home though was a time of deep emotion. I couldn't believe that it had been 10 days. The entire trip seemed like a few minutes and as I pulled into Lion's Choice in Sullivan I was astounded that it had been 10 days. It didn't seem like it at all and now here it was, 10 days later and my trip was now to home.
Looking back I don't think there will be one event that stands out as the whole journey will live with me forever. From the roads to and from Piedmont, to the Special Stage Route N on my way to Nevada, to the countless stories I have heard from parents, to the many thank you's I heard all of it will be with me. I didn't think it was possible, but as I was driving home I got hungrier to do what I am doing. Yesterday I felt as if time was wasting away as I didn't have a soul to talk to about the autism spectrum. Today, however, I have two and tomorrow I once again talk to police officers. Time isn't wasting and while a few days ago I thought my presenting life was over, but today I once again will step up, stand in front of a crowd, and begin with, "My name is Aaron Likens and I serve as Community Education Specialist for TouchPoint Autism Services..."