I pointed out in Growing old with autism that there hasn’t been much research on adults and especially on seniors with autism. People growing up today will probably fare better because they have been helped from the start, but it could be hard for people that have been forced to manage without facilitation during any stage of their lives.
We are all responsible for our own health, but I think it’s particularly important for those of with ASD and NLD. We have to consider the mental, physical and emotional changes everyone goes through as they get older, but many of us also have comorbid conditions that could change with age. It’s not very original, but physical and mental health has a direct correlation with how much or little we move our bodies. I miss working out because that was something I really liked doing as a teenager and during most of my 20’s, but I haven’t been able to do much for years because of stomach problems and a constant nausea. I still get quite a bit of exercise because I walk and ride a bicycle a lot. I live downtown and everything I need is within a 30 minute walk. I don’t lift weights, but carrying groceries is not a bad substitute.
It’s fair to say that I am not very social, but I try to maintain the few connections I have, and even when I experience stress, and interaction with others increase the stress level, these relationships help make my life stable. I think it’s generally a good advice to try to get more out of life. Life can be boring, terribly boring sometimes. It is important to find ways to make it interesting. One of my things is to hitchhike with UFOs. No, I haven’t lost my mind or touch with reality, but it’s exciting to look up at the sky a winter night. This is an interest I share with my daughter and we often talk astronomy to and from her afternoon activities.
I remember an episode from Winnie the Pooh I watched with my daughter 6-7 years ago. This episode was about Eyore and everybody felt sorry for him because he went up a hill every day to look at the clouds, in any weather. His friends decided to put him through hell in an attempt to teach him how to enjoy life. This made him very unhappy because he didn’t like the same things as a bear, rabbit, kangaroo, owl, pig or Tigger. He was different. After everyone had shown Eyore what they thought he ought to do with his time, little Piglet apologized. He was sure the others had done such a good job, while he had no idea what to do for his friend. Eyore then explained why he came up to this hill:
I don’t come here because I’m sad; I come here because I’m happy. Let me show you something because you are a good friend.
What he showed Piglet was not gray, rainy clouds, but a fantastic fireworks of colours. This was Eyores imagination, an artistic representation of his feelings. He saw the world differently, and when his friends listened to Eyore, they saw the world through his eyes. That was a beauty they would have missed out on. That’s what friendship with an autistic can do for you. I imagine that Eyore had to find some other way to enjoy life. He couldn’t do what Piglet, Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Owl or Tigger did. He was not depressed. He was happy. I get the same joy from watching the stars. I am never going to encounter Uhura, Spock, Worf, Data, Padmé Amidala, Ahsoka Tano, as they are fictional characters, or visit fascinating planets like Tatooine, Felucia and Naboo, but thinking about them makes life interesting. I like the sky at night. I like to think that people have been doing the same things since we lived in caves. It makes me feel that I am part of something very old.
Incidentally, the UFO field is more or less dead now, and most of the researchers seem to have changed to investigating high strangeness. When it comes to reality most people are focused on Alpha Centauri because that’s the nearest star system. I use Norton safe Search, which is a little amusing because a search starts with advertisement for a travel site. I searched for Alpha Centauri yesterday and the ad guaranteed me the best price on tickets to Alpha Centauri. The problem is that, although it’s only 4,37 light years away, NASAs retired space shuttles would have needed 165 000 years to get me there. We are far from warp drive, but some scientists think that near light speed is theoretically possible, but maybe not advisable. The only realistic option is the long way around with generation ships.
Life is exciting, but I need to look elsewhere for interests. I hope I can continue finding life fascinating as I get older. That will keep me healthy. I am just about to start reading one of my Christmas gifts. The author Ursula Le Guin was born in 1929, and as far as I know she’s still working. That is not that uncommon in science fiction. I hope it will be me as well.
I touched this topic in The Santa Lie too.