It Must Be Done: What Autistic Routine Devotion Feels Like


“Hunter, do you HAVE to do this right now?”

The answer is alwaysYes. Yes I do.”

This past weekend, I envisioned three goals:

  1. shave
  2. edit
  3. vacuum

That’s it. Modest items.

By the way: the second (edit) was a worthwhile, more involved effort, which I hope you’ll enjoy on The Life Autistic on YouTube. New vid this Wednesday, and you’ll see why editing made the top three.

But the first two (shave, vacuum) — they’re just such small, inconsequential things, right?

Not to me.

Autistically-influenced goals aren’t just “oh this would be nice to—”


Imagine a hawk landing on your nest of a hairstyle, weighty and cumbersome, digging its talons into your skull. 

In those claws go, soon entrenched in the folds of your brain, clouding your vision, narrowing your peripheral vision. You don’t feel the pain; only the purpose.

Your heart beats, each moment pulses with a dread – you feel those delicate fibers of time slipping loose as they skip along. You’re no longer making the moment count; you’re counting the moments that you can steal away to do what your mind and soul have now become fixed to do.

If it’s not done — you tense, you feel those talons plunging in, and then the pain intensifies — you want the bird to release its grip, to let go, let you swivel your head unburdened.

But it won’t. Not until you’re done.

So that’s why I’ve a baby strapped to my chest while whipping a vacuum around my office.

The vacuuming had to be done.

Yes, JoJo was cranky. Yes, she needed attention.



I didn’t ask for the life autistic. I’d have enjoyed being dealt the kind of neurotypical attributes of indolence, “not caring,” flexibility, letting things go, carefree attitudes, etc.

So the next time you catch some autistic person who just can’t “pull away,” or “set something down,” or “switch gears” — imagine the hawk atop our head.

Interestingly enough, even this blog is a fixation of mine – if I don’t write, I get too stressed to function. Appreciate you reading; it helps! To learn more about autism from an autistic person’s perspective, follow & subscribe to The Life Autistic here and on YouTube — or follow the more whimsical, spontaneous, and amusing content on Twitter / Instagram. Thanks!


3 thoughts on “It Must Be Done: What Autistic Routine Devotion Feels Like

  1. Your descriptions are so very helpful. I think about various images a lot…and I hope it helps when I keep your perspective in mind!

  2. Hunter, I did not realize you consider yourself on the spectrum. Does your commitment to getting “it” done, come with a measure of enthusiasm for your tasks? Don Dibble.

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