Susan's Blog

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Universe According To Me

When is enough, enough?  When do we let go and then grab onto something new?

As I get older I need to be able to answer that question and not look back. I had a particularly good day at work today — I teach writing at Northeastern University — which means I got really really tired. My hour of teaching three days a week is a time period when all of my usual creative energy is compacted into those moments. If you know me at all, you know then that this is a lot of creative energy concentrated and distilled in the best, purest thinking version of me. And like the Laws of Conservation of Matter and Energy, once that creative thinking speaking piece of me is spent, it is gone. And that is why I am writing so little these days.

Any other part of me has to go to my family (BenMaxNatNed and sometimes MomDadLauraSomeFriends), and my biking/dancing and then, if I can, AutismAdvocacy. This formula has been mixed, remixed, and titrated over the years to yield the happier form of me that you see today. I came to understand that there was only so much I can say Yes to and that I have to choose carefully.

So today I got to thinking about the item I had planned to participate in later on in the day. And all I could feel was dread and resentment. Not irritation with the folks that invited me to this meeting, but with myself for having been foolishly optimistic about my ability to attend a new committee at 6:30pm in a town 30 minutes away.

Oh, but the meeting is about something to do with Nat’s quality of life. Does that come under the Nat category or the Advocacy category. When I’d agreed to do this, I was thinking mostly it was for Nat.

Actually I still think this committee is an activity that would affect/improve Nat’s daytime life.  But there’s a lot of work for the Greater Good involved, too. As a younger woman, I would just leap to do the latter. I was all about the Greater Good in my career: making the world understand and appreciate Nat and autistic people in general. Different people. I wrote books, articles, served on committees, lobbied legislators, went to the White House and the State House.

But today as I was walking across the quad of my new favorite university, I was feeling both exhilarated and exhausted from class. And I realized that in that 65 minutes I had not thought about Nat once.

I can hear you gasping in horror.  Or was that me?

I hadn’t thought about my two other boys either, but you don’t gasp over that. That’s because they are 27 and 21, independent, out in the world.

But Nat.

Well, what about Nat? I thought to myself, there actually is a reason I didn’t think about Nat, that I don’t actually think about him during the week until Friday, when the weekend is near and he will be visiting.

I don’t think about him. You heard that right. And that is because he is for now settled into a wonderful group home, and an equally terrific day program. And so a great deal of my energy can now go elsewhere. I can work at a university. I can buy myself lunch at a gorgeous cafe. I can take the long way home from the trolley.

This is because at this moment in time, I feel my boys are okay, more than okay. Evil Eye, stay the fuck away, let me say that. Let me bask in that. And let me blow off tonight’s meeting because, Dammit, I do enough.

Though at the moment I decided this, I didn’t feel okay. I sat down with my computer and who should pop up on Messenger but Max. He just wanted to say hi. See how I am. Hear about my day.

And I think that perhaps there is some kind of Universal Law going on here, where maybe Max picked up on my mental freedom, my openness, and he made that connection with me.  I don’t believe there’s a Master Plan for us; I do understand that energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed, and that my own energy and matter are finite. But I also believe that things conspire — randomly or deliberately — to free up crowded old pathways as we grow, ripen, age. And that there are endless pathways for our energy and our love to take if we are open to them.

 

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