70 years old today — April 10, 2017. Where did the years go?
Only 3.5 of those years did I know that I had Aspergers/High Functioning Autism.
I’m part of the “lost generation” who grew up before there was a diagnosis of Aspergers or of High Functioning Autism. Yet, in our later years, many of us are getting diagnosed or realizing that we are on the spectrum.
I think of those agonizing childhood years when I KNEW I was different from other kids. But I had no idea how or why. I could only put it together in terms of being defective … inferior …. less than others.
I struggled with feeling God calling me to ministry and to social work, but doubting that I was competent. My life has been many years of pretending to be like everybody else — learning to play-act and to imitate what I saw around me. But always feeling myself to be a fraud.
Now that I know who I am, it’s clear to me that I haven’t lived my life as “me”, but rather as an image of “me” that I thought I was supposed to imitate.
At 70, I can see my real talents and appreciate those skills. Yet, I also am starting to see what I don’t know and never will. There are so many ways I’ve tried to tape and staple pieces of myself together to try and get by. I do get by, but always something is given up. I can’t do everything I want to do. The more I focus on my work life, the more I ignore my house, my finances, my friends, my health. When I focus on the personal areas, my work life suffers. I don’t know that I can interweave and balance all of these on my own. I’m realizing how much help I’ve always needed to keep my life together — but never admitted that I needed it and never got it.
I don’t know that I’ll ever figure out how to put it all together. But I do know it is a deep calling inside to tell the story of our generation — and invite those behind us to learn from it.