As I’ve grown older, spontaneity has died a gruesome death. If my schedule is left open to impetuosity, nothing gets done. Nothing except perhaps hours trying to defeat mahjong on my tablet. If left with even an hour of unplanned time, I flail with confusion until I find some way to fritter away those strange and empty moments. What am I supposed to do with impromptu minutes that I didn’t see coming?
Even worse is if my daily routine is thrown off in some way. If dragged from my work/play/meditation/education, I react with almost violent despair. “How can I do that when I’m not finished with this? Oh the humanity!” Felt with all the horror of watching Sharknado. Yes, it’s that awful.
I don’t know for sure how I got this way, but I have my suspicions. I realize that the last time I was truly comfortable with a loose and open stretch of hours was when I was a teenager. Maybe that era was the exception to my personality’s rule due to crazed adolescent hormones. Not so now. It could be the Asperger’s. Many people on the spectrum feel adrift without a schedule. Maybe it’s age and a part of my psyche is readying for the day when I have to take certain pills at certain times of the day, just like my dear old Grandma and Grandpappy.
All I know for sure anymore is if I don’t have a set activity at such-and-such time, I am lost and in search of breadcrumbs to lead me out of the dark woods. So I have a daily schedule. I adhere to it. And I love it.
I made the schedule during the Christmas break I took from writing. I realized there were many things I wanted to do that I never felt I had time for. My life had pretty much dwindled to writing, walking/running 5 miles a day, getting kiddo’s homework done, and watching Netflix. Woohoo! What fun, huh?
I wanted to get back to meditation and spiritual studies. Reading books. Playing with my child rather than just ushering him through his assignments. Weight training. Drawing. Talking to friends. Studying the subjects that fascinate me. Those kinds of things. Things I enjoy. But where was I going to find all that time?
It was there, it turned out. I just had to schedule it in. I found time for all of that stuff by first writing down a list of my priorities and figuring out what was most important to me. Once I did that, I figured out how I could plug them all into my week, along with reminding myself that sometimes these things would fall by the wayside. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans.” I will keep telling myself that there will be days when the schedule falls apart. I will tell myself it’s okay. You may find it funny that I would have to console myself over such a thing, but I’ve discovered Asperger’s can put a spin on unforeseen changes that are downright chaotic. I have to be ready when it happens.
As I write this, I have been on my new schedule for three days. So far, I’m feeling quite wow about it. I am fitting in everything I’ve been wanting to do and never found the time for. It’s awesome. Yes, it’s rigid and I’m feeling like a boring old lady for having to put myself on a routine, but I’m enjoying life a lot more because I’m living a lot more.
I guess I’ll never be spontaneous again, at least not on a regular basis. That sounds so not-fun that my eyes nearly cross to write it. Yet I feel better with my schedule. I feel like I’m making time for fun rather than being at a loss when the opportunity shows up and I don’t know what to do with it. It keeps my aspie brain calm and happy to have a sort of to-do list that I can check off as I go.
I live by a routine. It keeps me sane and productive and joyous. In the end, I guess that’s what matters. My life, my rules. Figure out yours and live happy too.