I did it last night... I reached 20,000 people spoken to in my career. And I must say it was rather unique week to do with the issues I had that I somewhat explained in the Monday and Tuesday posts.
So 20,000... it's hard for me to truly understand what that means. To have an impact is something that I never thought I would have. If my initial dreams had come true I'd be racing up in a professional racing series where hundred of thousands would see me race in person and millions on television. But what type of impact would that have truly had? Week in and week out who would have benefited from however I did on the track?
Also, had I raced I may never have been diagnosed, or perhaps diagnosed at the time I did. Would I have discovered that I was, at heart, a writer? Would I have discovered my ability to stand in front of a group and share my stories getting responses of laughter and tears? I don't think I would have.
And another thing is the fact that I've haven't even been doing this full-time for three complete years. Does this make that number of 20,000 more impressive? I can remember when I started I was consistently presenting to groups of three, four, and five. Slowly word got around in Missouri and five turned to ten; ten turned to twenty; and twenty turned to fifty. Suddenly schools wanted me to present to teachers, then I got the chance to speak to students, and the snowball has been building ever since.
As I sit here in the San Antonio airport awaiting my flight I've been looking through my list of my 322 presentations I have given and I am thankful for each and every one of those that I have given. Sure, the numbers have grown since I began but the numbers don't matter. Don't get me wrong, I'm rather proud of this milestone, but each presentation is as important as the last. Whether there's three, or three-hundred at a presentation each has the same relevancy because getting the information to each and every person is important. One thing, if I were racing, is that I wouldn't be in a position to be able to transform a person's understanding of anything much less give people a better understanding of the autism spectrum and add the much needed word of hope to people's vocabulary. Wow, what a ride it's been but this is just the start!