Coming back from holiday is always a struggle for me. There is the recovery from the journey and the transition back into the demands of ordinary everyday life. I was I had more time and money to travel because I would avoid airports and airplanes with their sensory overloaded environments if I could. I am so glad that I have my noise cancelling headphones which helps me manage the experience assuming I have spare batteries to manage that flat battery anxiety. Arriving home means a safe environment I am familiar with complete with quiet area but it also means the renewed vigor of home / work responsibilities which often feels overwhelming. This time I was also ill which makes things difficult in many ways but on the positive side it does allow me a continued break from those responsibilities and a possibility of slowly retaking them on as I get better.
I do find life a struggle though in my post-diagnosis state. What do I really want to be doing with my life? How does my ASD diagnosis impact that? I am a person that likes to come up with a solution to problems before trying to fix them. I am not one for jumping with with both feet without thinking. When it comes to making decisions about life though there is no one simple solution and with too many possibilities comes the probable outcome of stalemate. I lurch into inaction. Indecision also leads to depression in my case so inaction is not a state I want to stay in.
When I look at other people, the one thing most people have is a purpose in life. Whether that purpose comes from a job like being a doctor, a dustman providing a vital service to their community, or a stay-at-home dad looking after his young kids. These things provide a reason for getting out of bed, working towards something, and a sense of reward that I struggle to find most of the time. So I decided to start writing down work things that I found interesting not worrying about the qualifications required.
Somewhere along the line, I decided to look up a career finding site to see what suggestions it might make for me. In the end I spent a few hours answering questionnaires on my “Skills Health Test”. The answers were not that illuminating because I seem to be good at most things away from groups. This has always been my problem, too many options. Well at least I tried.
I tried. That felt important to me. Trying meant that I was doing something. Doing something means that I am making progress which helps me feel better. I decided this morning to group the potential jobs I had listed into three categories: “practical things to do”, “difficult things to do” and “impractical things to do”. Under the impractical group I added things like “run a dog’s kennel” which I rule out because my wife is allergic to dogs. Difficult things required training of some sort, so in there went the “design men’s jewelry” because the things I would be interested in requires knowledge of 3D design and casting or metal work and electrolysis. That left things like photographer, web designer, etc in which I have some skills.
My problem though is that I need to be doing these things. I need to make some progress. I decided that I would try to spend five minutes a day on a number of activities. I have put all nine activities into a workbook on separate spreadsheets and written dates in the sheets so that I can keep track of my activities. Somethings like yoga require a tick or cross whilst others like photography require something more. In these cases I used a random word generator to suggest a topic of the day. This word will be the same across a number of activities so that a body of short work should be produced each day which I can then put up on the blog.
Forty-five minutes each day seems achievable to me but whether that works remains to be seen. Out of curiosity, I used a random word to test it out on three activities: non-stop writing, a photograph and an ink drawing sketch. I started with the writing and found out from the file creation and last edited times that I had been going for 17.5 minutes. Oh dear. The writing did give me an idea for a photo though so that was quick. I am sure the sketch took longer than five minutes though. I suspect at least initially that five minutes per activity is not going to be long enough but I am going to leave it loose at the moment. In my mind five minutes would be a minimum to make sure I got something done on my music practice and composition for instance, but maybe the challenge will be in keeping activities short.