Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years' Reflections

The clock counts down towards the start of 2012 where I live...  I know there are countless holiday celebrations going on at this time.  My brother is at a party, my parents are out of town spending New Year's up north.   I am spending New Years at home, alone with my four cats.  I'm okay with that.  I may be able to live unrecognized by many as a member of the autism spectrum, but I still deal with a few symptoms associated with the spectrum.  One of those is sensory overload.

I have mentioned in previous blog posts that I am by no means a party animal.  Quite the opposite actually.  It may be because I'm autistic, it may be because I am an introverted person, or it may be some combination of the two that is unique to a person of my nature and experiences.  The terms "introvert" and "autistic" are just convenient labels to group people together that share similar traits into categories so that those people who are "introverted" or autistic".  That way, people can thereby be compared and contrasted to those with different characteristics or traits.

This brings to mind a "Star Trek" film that I watched recently.  In this film, "Captain Picard" is faced with a most unique adversary: a clone of himself that shares his exact genetic structure down to his pattern of thinking.  I can vividly recall a conversation between ”Picard" and one of his crewmen "Data" about midway through the film.  The gist of the conversation is that just because "Picard" and his clone adversary shared identical genetic material; it is not to say that "Picard" would have made the same choices that his clone adversary would have made over the course of his life.  "Data" goes on to say that the two are unique simply due to the sum of their experiences they had made during the course of their individual lives.

This is the same with autism.  We all hear that no two people are the same.  No two cases of autism are identical.  The autism spectrum is appropriately named because it encompasses a set of related behavior into a category convenient to comparison with other individuals who have different characteristics.  The same is true with the differences between introverts and extroverts.  That being said, it is not simply the fact that I am autistic or because I am introverted that causes me to enjoy spending New Years by myself while my family attends social events.  It is more than my mild autism or my introverted nature that causes me to be the way that I am, those are convenient labels: it is the sum of my experiences that leads up to this decision and will continue to build upon itself as I move forward with my life.

Just something to think about.

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