My birthday just took place on Thursday, April 2, 2015. One must understand that one’s birthday should be all about them and filled to the brim with every whimsy and pleasure that may be procured through money or supporters that take the time to augment one’s day. One cannot hold onto everything, but they also cannot let go of everything. Halloween, roller skating, and my birthday are what I choose to hold onto for dear life and should be immune to the ravages of the adult world.
But there are certainly years in which adulthood still intrudes on these blessed traditions. One still has to work on one’s birthday, and if you are younger then the school day does not back off. This year I was looking forward to enjoying a day off considering it was my first vacation at Anderson Center for Autism (ACA). As a public orator, writer, and nearly full-time employee…I very rarely take a day off. The day off was going to revolve entirely around celebrating my birthday as well as an opportunity to cherish the first 60-degree day of 2015. After an exceptionally cruel winter, I was looking forward to such an adventure at the official beginning of spring. April 2 is also World Autism Awareness Day.
Sometimes it can become exhausting being a public figure. (The term, “public figure” does not mean I am popular or famous. It just implies that I have made myself available to the public). Before you start playing the World’s Smallest Violin on my behalf, I would suggest you experience the lifestyle before passing judgment about my supposed lack of gratitude. Sometimes it is just nice to just take a day off and not pound away at the unrelenting emails from the public and business associates. I was thinking of skipping anything related to World Autism Awareness Day and focusing on celebrating my cherished birthday. For an entire week, I had been contemplating avoiding the event at the United Nations (UN) that focuses on employment. In all honesty, I was bitter that such an event intruded on MY day!
At the last minute, I decided to wake up shortly after 3:30 AM in the morning on the one day of the year that is supposed to be all about my happiness. I had resigned myself to the reality that my birthday would once again be destroyed by the responsibilities of the adult world. As it turned out, I had made the right decision to venture into New York City!
You are probably wondering what is the whole point of this anecdotal blog entry? The point is that as individuals on the autism spectrum, we may fight to hold on much longer than a neurotypical person. Our rituals and special interests mean the world to us. Therefore, “letting go” seems like the end of the world. Perhaps we should not use the term, “letting go” and use the term, “shaved off.” On that note, I chose to shave off some of the birthday rituals to open myself up to something more profound. That is, seeing how my peers may succeed in the world of steady employment. And as it turned out, my birthday was not totally destroyed. Two incredible women who I am acquainted with bought me lunches in the city at fine restaurants. Despite being stuffed from all the food, I was still bitter that there was no candle on any of the desserts. The night ended with a last minute trip to a pizzeria called, Anthony’s Place in Hopewell Junction, NY where one of my Anderson Center for Autism (ACA) co-workers works nights. Tiffany took care of all of my food and wine. And there was a lit candle on the cake just before the night finally closed in… It was nice to at least cling to this one beloved ritual. I was alone because it was too last minute to pull people together, but it felt like the whole world was with me. I am forever appreciative to all those individuals who understand how important my birthday is and who took the time on April 2 to remind me on Facebook that I was not missing out on anything while spending the day in New York City in the throes of Autism Awesomeness!