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My 33rd Birthday

By Aaron Tanner

· Birthday,Accomplishment,Writing,Friendship,Life

Last Saturday was my birthday. Although my mom and I planned to spend the day in Chattanooga, the weather where I live was horrible with heavy rain all day. It was nice sleeping in and hanging out at home while ordering upscale pizza and birthday cake.

I must confess I have a fear of getting old. Sometimes I get sad around my birthday because I feel I am not where I thought I would be at my age, 33 years old, and there are limited studies on people with Aspergers in the elderly years. Much of my 20's was spent trying to find myself.

A friend shared with me that I need to focus on the good things that I have accomplished and to stop comparing myself to others. Often, those with Aspergers are pushed to be normal, and in the process, they forget to see how far they may have come.

For example, I can drive. Many with Aspergers are unable to drive. My city does not have an excellent public transportation system so learning to drive is a necessity unless one wants to spend a significant amount of money on using Uber.

At my age, I thought I would have a full-time job working with Geographic Information Systems. That particular field did happen. In the past year, I rediscovered writing and fell in love with the profession. In fact, a recent spiritual gifts test revealed I have a natural gift for writing.

Along with running work in the morning at the dental lab, I get paid to write for the company newsletter, and I get paid to write articles for Alabama Living. Not very many writers start off getting paid for their work. Although I may not work full time in a traditional 9 to 5 environment, between those three jobs, it is almost like working full time with flexibility. My goal is to find a job that uses my writing and research skills.

Although I may not have a girlfriend, I do have plenty of friends who care about me and include me in their activities. As many parents are well aware, there are plenty of people on the spectrum who are isolated and have no friends, which affects their mental health. I received a couple of birthday gifts from my friends, including a book on improving one’s writing skills, and plenty of Happy Birthday messages.

For most of my 20's, I thought I had to get married and have kids, or I was not complete. Although there may be a small part of me that wants to be in a romantic relationship, I do not believe this personal growth I am experiencing would be possible if I had a girlfriend or wife.

Personally, I think American Society places so much emphasis on romantic relationships that not enough attention gets put on friendships. Right now, I feel it is best if I learn how to be a friend to someone as romance is too much for me to handle right now. Slowly, I am learning that if I never get to a point where I can maneuver having a girlfriend or wife that is okay as well.

I must confess that I am still trying to find myself and am trying to find a balance between pushing oneself and developing character and being content at my place in life. Parents and other adults should teach someone with Aspergers not so much on many different life benchmarks that society says is normal but how to develop a positive character, which will lead to success later on in life. Also, teach them that more money does not necessarily lead to happiness, but it is contentment that leads to peace in one’s life.

What have you accomplished as an adult? Comment in the section below and subscribe to the Rocket City Notebook at the bottom of the page.

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