Many times growing up when experiencing life with my parents and seeing their faults or things they would do that I would react in a way that was not the proper way, they would often say “It will happen to you.” While many of those things haven’t happened to me yet, I am still realizing that my parents are not the same as they were when I was younger and they are getting older.
We often talk about age as a number, and I am blessed to have my parents and the fact that they are able to do the things that they are still able to do the things that they can do is just astonishing. However, I am beginning to see some of the small traces of things that their parents went through and while I had seen the generational behavior and family traits continue into my adult life, in fact I see some similarities and some knowns in myself and also know that some things will be expected to happen in my life down the road.
Regardless of what is occurring with my parents, it made me realize that I need to reverse the behaviors that I have acted towards them for the better part of my life. I have to realize that they are not going to be here forever and I must treasure the opportunities that I have with them in my life, even though they may not be the opportunities I prefer. There will come a time in life when there will no longer be an opportunity to have experiences where it is not spent in misery. So much of my life has been centered on what best suited my needs, now that I have more of a capability to adult more and do things that are challenging, I must realize that getting out of the comfort zone can sometimes be necessary and that I need to grow up while I still have the chance to do so.
Being in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are starting to emerge into a return to a sense of normalcy and doing things that have been absent from our routines for over two years. As a result the ability for autistics like me to cope have been somewhat depleted and have to start over or pick up where they had been left off along with adding new ones. Likewise, it hasn’t been easy on those who are my parents’ generations, they had to make just as many or more sudden changes as us autistics and while we may want to discount that simply because they are neurotypical is not accurate.
We must understand that things that many of them did not experience in decades had been changed into new ways that weren’t as easy for them, whereas because many autistics are technologically inclined made it easier in ways to at least initialize things and have a baseline of just getting started. Some of those of older generations that were part of a family unit also had to hold down multiple roles that they may not have had to do prior to the pandemic. The pandemic also caused a period with many unknowns, and uncertainties that made life more difficult for not only them, but everyone, neurodivergent and neurotypical alike.
All of the events from two years ago and going forward have decreased the mental health of everyone significantly and I and many others in my world have been casualties of the effects of the pandemic procedures. While the effects cannot be reversed, I must accept that I need to indeed treasure the time going forward and focus more on not reacting or acting in a way that further challenges the relationships of others, specifically loved ones and other close connections.