Ah, the pursuit of happiness, that age old quest that we all embark upon in order to make life more agreeable. I would like to say that I have discovered all the deep secrets, but alas I have not. However, I have a few little “dittys” that have enhanced the living experience for me. Nothing new and earth shattering, just a few “age old” standards that seem to finally gel well with my Aspergian outlook and simple they may be, but sometimes “simple” and “easy” do not alway coincide.
Happiness comes from within, not from others….who hasn’t heard that one? Finally, after years of struggling with that one, I now completely agree…it DOES come from within but that is not an effortless endeavor….it is within but you have to find it and once that has been accomplished, you have to work it. I personally like to visualize it as a substantial, shapeless lump of clay that with work, becomes shaped, molded and formed into a piece of art. The most challengine “piece of art” that I ever formed from my clay imagery was to accept myself as I am and accept it with a big side dish of approval…my approval, not that of another. In fact, it has taken almost fifty years of struggling to almost “finish the piece” but to wholly own what I have been given is one of the best things I could have done for myself. Yes, I have Asperger’s and yes it has it’s many downfalls…but one, it will not ever go away and two, I have at this point in life, done the best I can do with said affliction, I commend myself for my efforts, and allow myself to have faults and finally admit that some things just cannot be changed.
Am I always a little chipper sunbeam that never gets down or frustrated with my limitations? Certainly not….and yes, there are days when I still feel like a gigantic loser, mainly because I have this terrible habit of “analyzing the evidence” that makes me “guilty” of such….but as one of my favorite bumper stickers ever reads “Don’t always beleive everything your mind tells you.” Often times I have to “repair” the “cracks and chips” that have befallen my work of art. In other words, it is truly an on-going process and one that I personally find to be rather high maintenace at times, but well worth the effort.
Money cannot buy happiness….Sometimes, when the stress of financial instabilty consumes me like a ravenous bitch wolf, I think that is not so true…but when I look back at the environment from whence I came, the accuracy of that addage becomes crystal clear. Happy was not a part of my young life…money was…but for all they could buy, my parents were never happy and all the cars, clothes, gadgets, toys and alcohol in the world could not provide one bit of contentment….but could only endow them with a brief distraction from their internal misery that I liken to putting a Curad band aid on an amuptated limb…totally useless. My mother died a few years ago, having lived over seventy years with little or no happiness in her life, yet she had all that money could buy, which not only saddened me greatly, but genuinely motivated me to start looking for that “lump of clay and start shaping, forming and molding” like a bat out of hell. The hardest part being the countless times I had to start over, after my pending vessel collapsed but truly, I did not want to have to wait until I was buried to unearth some happiness and contentment in life.
My precious Grandmother once told me that putting others before yourself is one of the best practices of life and I must say, I saw her do just that infinitely. I never recall being with her that she did not eminate the spectacular, alluring light of joyfullness and contentment. By no means did ever she display the characteristics of the martyr…she did what she did out of love, never complaing or expecting reward or recognition and had the gift of making the most distasteful of chores enjoyable. She is the sole reason I actually like to clean bathrooms. I will be the first to admit that I do not always adhere to this advice, of putting others first, but I can say, with absolute honesty, that if I truly love you, I will put your happiness before mine to the best of my comprehension of that theory…which may not be so accurate at times, as the workings of relationships that appear to come so effortless to others is one of my greatest free-for-all battles of life and love. I feel I mess them up frequently yet cannot ever seem to understand why. But none-the-less, I persist, at the risk of being greatly misunderstood. There are things that would enhance my happiness, people I wish would allow me to be more a part of their lives and bonds that I desire to be stronger. However, if those desires interfere with the happiness of those I truly love, I try hard leave them alone and pursue no more…which is kind of a twist and turn to happiness…yeah though I believe havings such things would brighten my world, I do not wish to dim the world of another, but still I have contentment in knowing that I have contributed to the well being of those loved, so it all works out, eventually. Doing for others out of love, expecting nothing in return is greatly rewarding…the reward of knowing you did the right thing, and no disappointment from expectations that failed to come to fruitition. I much prefer to be a “behind the scenes do-gooder”…yes, sometimes recognition is a good thing and to feel appreciated is wonderful, but neither is a true ingredient for contentment.
Love is the answer…yes it is. Loving others, being loved, loving and accepting yourself…the greatest gift of life. I give thanks numerous times a day for those I love and for those who return love to me. There is no material object that can compare to that, though a Mercedes 450 SL might come close…kidding :).
To my fellow Aspergians…life is hard, for everyone and being curtailed in certain areas does nothing to make the road any more smooth. It can be stressful, depressing and overwhelmingly frustrating. People rarely understand us at all and if you are fortunate enough to have folks in your life that even make an effort to try, chalk that up as one huge blessing. Even though they may never understand, at leas they make the effort to try. I know it is hard to feel equal, acceptable and good about ourselves, for some of us. We have been shunned, excluded, made fun of, tormented, teased, bullied and harassed for a good part of life and it is very difficult to NOT focus on that instead of what unique, gifted individuals we truly are. Focus on your gifts, we all have them…or as I like to call them, “really cool consolation prizes”….if you have not found yours yet, keep looking, you will eventually uncover what makes you so awesome and then, you can work steadily toward being content with what you have been given.
Just keep trying, it is worth the effort.