My birthday was last week. Very little ado was made of it. Mission accomplished.
Surprises aren’t my thing, nor are extravaganzas. Since I had neither the impetus, nor the friends, nor the general energy for birthday parties after age 8, I found the absence of celebration sad, but liberating.
Maybe you’re the “birthday celebrator extraordinaire” type of person.
As an autistic fellow with a recurring birthday, I am not.
We (generally) don’t like changes in routine. I like when my birthday falls on a weekday, because then I go to work, get things done, and make it a mostly normal day. Predictability is a fine present. Sure, I wouldn’t mind an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Co-Axial Day Date either, but barring that, I’m most at ease and happy when things go “according to prescription.”
We‘re not fond of misaligned expectations. There’s a great phrase I borrow from The Patriot: “Aim small, miss small.” With hypervivid imaginative capacity and keen abilities to construct what amazing events look like, it’s only dooming us to failure when those things can’t come to pass, due to scale, complexity, meltdowns, whatever. I asked for three things on the day: for me not to have to make the bed, an empty sink, and $10 worth of tacos from El Michoacano — a taqueria in a part of town where I’m the only person who orders in English. I got all three, as expected, totally perfect.
People. Well, it’s nice having people around, but I like keeping my energy reserves stored. My wife and three daughters made sweet and special company, and they let me be me at my most “me.”
Normal people are quick to claim an entire “birthday month,” paint the town red (whatever that means), and get a pass on their vanity for bending the world to their whims on the one day they can afford to do so.
Me? I’m not normal.
Yet I had a great and happy birthday in my own autistic way.
I’m 3# years into my life autistic, and I hope it won’t take all too many more for our differences to pass from ‘misunderstood’ to ‘tolerated’ to ‘accepted’ and maybe even ‘celebrated.’ Even if I don’t have much by way of birthday celebrations, right? 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.
Speaking of celebrations, check out my latest video for something I actually celebrated perhaps even more than my own birthday: