Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What I Want

A while back, not so long ago, someone asked me, "Aaron, what to do you want out of life?" At the time I didn't know how to answer it as that has to be one of the most profound questions anyone can be asked. It has taken a while, but I think I have my answer.

The event that inspired my answer happened yesterday. It had been one week since the Opening Night Terror at bowling. Due to traveling and being flat out exhausted I forgot about those events up until a van ride a couple days ago, but once I remembered I had fear. The fear was deep and it wasn't a fear of bodily harm but rather it was a fear of my mind and how I would feel being back at the bowling alley. I couldn't tell what the next visit to the bowling alley would look like or how awkward it might be. Would there be an apology? Apologies are the most awkward event I know of and on top of that I believe them to be irrelevant, but thankfully my dad made sure that this would not happen.

So, how does yesterday play out into my answer of what I want? Almost a decade ago, when I worked at the videogame store, I had to quit my job a couple months after a run-in with loss prevention. I didn't do anything wrong, but the interview itself and each time I walked into the room where the interview happened brought back strong memories as if it were happening anew each time. I was afraid this would happen at the bowling as well, but I fought it. To be honest, I wanted to quit bowling last week and never throw at those wooden pins even again. I was done, or at least I wanted to be. However, I looked back on the events at the store a decade ago and it was the same sort of feeling I had.

In my life I am always looking for the next thing to write about. This year has given me no shortage of topics to write about, but in it all I have never backed down. As the clock ticked away yesterday my anxiety grew and I still had in on my mind to quit. But if I quit, how could I continue to give presentations and tell parents to never give up? How could I tell those on the spectrum to keep fighting and keep trying? With those questions swirling about, I decided I had no choice but to continue to bowl. It may be awkward for a while, but I had to fight through it.

So again, how does that all fit in with what I want? This is simple as what I want is what I've got. What I have right now is the unique opportunity to use my experiences in life and share them with the world to explain the challenges, and gifts, of being on the spectrum.

It is difficult at times, as was proven last week. I can't deny that at times it takes everything I can muster to get through the day, but that's okay. Those around me know this through what I have written. Because of that, life is much more tolerable now than it was before I started to write and this is exactly what I want. I've said early on during my blogging career that, "Understanding is the foundation for hope" and it certainly is. By my words and experiences I want others to have that understanding.

I don't think too many people can say they've got exactly what they've want. I can, but it still is an ongoing challenge. There are times I want to give up, to throw in the proverbial towel, and to hide away from the world, but then what would become of my work? If I would have given up at bowling I'd be a hypocrite each time I implored someone to not give up. Granted, there may be situations where the best course of action is to retreat for a while as if something can't be won it is senseless to keep trying to win the battle, but I knew I could survive bowling; it would be uncomfortable, but tolerable.

Yesterday was a personal victory for me and it showed me that what I want is what I've got. Of course, as is human nature, what I've got I want more of. More readers, more people at my presentations, but this isn't out of a greed for more, but rather I know the more people that read what I've got to say and the more people that see me at a presentation the higher the chance of impact. The more people that are not just aware of autism, but perhaps have a glimmer of understanding, the better our world will become.


  1. In the beginning I used to read your posts and I would feel frustrated. I used to say to myself, "Now I understand, but WHAT are you going to do about it to change it? Can that behavior be changed for the better?"

    You are answering that very important question for us parents and that gives us tremendous hope. I want to very sincerely say these words and I hope you know that I mean them VERY much.

    I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!! You have always given us understanding. Now you are giving us parents HOPE and others on the spectrum COURAGE!