Reflections: While You Can

Being an autistic person, doing something that you may not find of interest can be difficult to endure at times. However, there are times in life that we have to do what is asked of us because we do not always know when we will have the opportunity to do the same thing again.

The fall months for me constantly bring those thoughts to me. There are many activities that I do especially in the month of October with my family that I know I need to do because I know that they may not be promised to me in the future. In my life, I was thankful to have my maternal grandparents into my early thirties and that I have both my parents in my life and that they do what they need to do in order to remain active. They constantly remind me of others that are not as well as them and while it is not meant to shame others for their struggles, it is to remind me that we are not always not promised the ability to always do what we want to in our lives.

One tradition in my family every fall is to visit a town upriver where a fall festival is held. For nearly three decades we have collected t-shirts for the event and always have a good time there. It is the last thing I did with my grandfather as he started to decline due to his physical health condition and I will always relate that memory in my life when I visit that small community each fall. 

Another activity that my mother and I specifically do in the fall is participate in a quilt hop where we visit various quilt shops and take in other attractions along the way. It was our fifth year because it was challenging to hear my mother say that she doesn’t know how long she can keep it up. An unplanned detour took us to an attraction that we have visited the past few years. This particular attraction currently requires the ascent and descent of 194 steps to see the focal point due to the other means of access being unavailable. I can remember the struggles we shared over the years of making the climb to the top. It has gotten better over the years and was more rewarding this year than it ever was. It is that memory that I continually treasure because I am not certain that I will be able to do it again. 

It can be so easy to point out the things wrong with our lives or stay in our circle of comfort because we don’t like change. It can also be challenging as an autistic person to not think that the world has to center around our needs. Yes, we have needs and they are valid, but others have needs,wants and desires too. Particularly with those we treasure or have a limited opportunity to access we must sometimes do what we don’t want to do not just because it may seem right or as a win, but because we may regret not having the opportunity in our lives.

Life isn’t fair sometimes and not everything is perfect in our lives. However, making things right and doing what others want by making memories while the opportunity provides for you to do so is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Some of the best things you can have of someone is the memories that you shared with them because no one can take them away from you. I know that I will do things with my family when the opportunity allows for me to do so because I know that I am fortunate to still have them in my life because life with them not being able to be who they are scares me sometimes so I know I need to live in the present moment while I can.

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