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Five things that make me happy:
1. My son
3. Doing crafts, i.e. loom knitting
4. Exploring nature
5. Learning new things
Identify why each of the above makes you happy. For example, if vacations make you happy, ask yourself why. Are they relaxing? Are they a hassle or expensive, but worth every penny because of what you learn about the world? Is it the time spent with loved ones?
Why these things bring my happiness:
1. My son is simply one of those people who was born with a desire to be kind. He wants to make the world a better place. He doesn't care about being showy or flashy. He just wants to be able to do his own thing. He is very good at working with his hands and has a great artistic eye.
At times, I have not been as supportive of him as I should have because I misunderstood him. My parents also misunderstood him and scolded him for not "trying harder" when he would withdraw.
Neither my son nor I were aware until he was an adult that he is on the autism spectrum. He hid a lot of his distress from overstimulation. He was born in 1990, and at that time, most people believed that autism was identified by the pronounced behaviors in people who are more severely affected, i.e. rocking and screaming. Most people believed that everyone with autism is non-verbal.
My son has since been able to reveal such characteristics as extreme sensitivity to sounds. He turns on rain sounds because otherwise, the humming from his phone charger disturbs him. I can't hear the phone charger at all. He is very aware of the sounds of water running through pipes. One time when the washing machine hose was dripping and causing water to run down the laundry room wall into the basement, he heard it all the way up on the second floor of the house and went to check it out. I was completely unaware of the problem.
I first started to suspect that my son might be autistic when he would turn the air conditioner in his room down to the coldest level while he was sleeping in order to be able to sleep under his heavy comforter even in the hottest days of summer. Weighted blankets have been shown to be very helpful in calming people with autism. Fortunately, at this point, the knowledge about the condition has increased exponentially.
However, society is often very slow to catch up. People with autism still tend to be treated as if they are retarded. People with autism are intellectually diverse. Some have severe intellectual disabilities while some have higher than average intellectual capabilities. People with autism are often pigeonholed as having lower than average intelligence because they tend not to learn well using traditional methods.
My son, for instance, has trouble learning anything at all from a textbook. He does not have problems reading long novels that hold his interest. The best way for him to learn a new skill, however, is by observing and doing, not by reading a boring textbook and attempting to answer a long roster of meaningless questions. For instance, when he was in the EMS program, he would become extremely frustrated by trying to read and answer questions in the textbook. It did not matter if I read the text to him, he didn't absorb it and trying to just upset him. However, he took a lot away from his clinical experiences, and he did well with the medical terminology and even the pharmacy calculations which were always a sticking point for me.
Unfortunately, at that point, the community college EMS programs were hell-bent on passing no more than 75% of their participants because they wanted to prove how "tough" their standards were. I was astounded by the amount of information that students were being expected to learn in the space of one semester. I had gone through the EMS program six years prior to when my son was in it, and at the point when he entered the program, the students were expected to learn skills that were previously part of the paramedic program.
When my son opted to drop out of the program, I fully supported him. I was aghast at the changes that had taken place. It's a damn shame too because I think that my son would have made a good EMT. However, he probably would have opted to work in an emergency room rather than on an ambulance because, like many autistic people, driving is a skill that is problematic for him.
2. Writing has always been my main way to survive. I do not think that I would last long if I didn't write. If I go for several days without writing, I start to become clinically depressed. It helps me work through problems and provides me an escape from a world that I've always found hostile to my very being.
3. Unlike writing, there is no impetus for me to have a certain level of "success" when it comes to my crafts. I just do them because I like to.
4. Exploring takes me out of my everyday environment, away from civilization, to a place that does not judge me. Connecting to the natural world renews the spirit.
5. One should not cease learning simply because one is not in school. Without new knowledge, a person stagnates. Learning because I want to learn just feels good.
How my goals connect to the things in life that bring me joy:
1. I want to succeed because I want to be able to support my son in his own goals and give him the best life possible. He deserves this.
2. I would like to earn my living writing. However, I doubt this will ever transpire. So, I intend to write as if I were earning my living doing so, but not as if I MUST earn my living doing so. I never want it to be a chore, and I never want it to become a duty or a means to seek acceptance. When I start doing any of those things, I know I'm on the wrong track.
3. I want to be able to have enough money to do my crafts anytime I want and not have to worry that I should be doing something that's earning money instead.
4. I want to have enough money to have the time and resources to explore and take care of nature.
5. Learning is necessary to find new avenues to obtaining my goal of multiple income streams. Also, without learning, life stagnates.
Free use image from Pixabay
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