I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone or just people on the Autism spectrum, but the passage of time can be very weird. If my weekly routine is disrupted, I’m mentally (and in some cases physically) thrown off for at least a week, sometimes longer. But what is really weird to me lately is the passage of time in the grander sense. How things that seemed so big to me are now 5-10 years ago. I feel like I just was in culinary school, and yet, when Facebook shows me ‘memories’, it pops up as “5 years ago today”. I could have sworn it was only a couple years ago that I went sailing for a month in the Caribbean, but it was 8 years ago.
I’ve started a new job; one that will carry me through the summer and part of the fall. I’m working at a scuba shop, around dive equipment and people who share the same interests as me – all summer. I get to spend the entire summer up at the family cottage, surrounded by gorgeous nature, and basking in my ‘new-found independence.’ Yes, it’s any writers dream – I get to live in a cottage in the forest. Wording it that way sounds infinitely less creepy than ‘cabin in the woods’ (it’s amazing how words work that way). But I’ll be living alone. Not that it’s a huge problem – I’m as introverted as they come. No, I’ll be living in a cabin, solo, four hours from home.
One side of me says “You got this girl, you can rock this thing and it will be awesome.” The other side says “Girl what are you NUTS? Four hours away from your family, your bedroom, your…everything?! You crazy.” And then I have to remember, I’ve done this before. The summer I turned 16 I started my (at the time) dream job…90 minutes from home. I boarded closer, with another family and went to work every day. I saw my family on weekends, but I was living away from home. I came home once summer was over, but I did it all again the next summer, and the next one, and the next one. For four summers, I lived away from home and I was totally cool about it. Because I knew what I wanted to do. It was also before I got my diagnosis.
Now that I know more about me and how I tick – it’s a little more challenging. I know my strengths, and I know my weaknesses. But this will be a new situation, a new routine, a new everything. I have to try and recall how I did things back then – getting up and surviving full time work, making meals for one person, cycling as my main method of commuting, etc. I know I’ve done it before, but there’s one more hiccup: the summer I turned 16? That was TEN YEARS AGO. Mind blown. It seems so close, and yet, like another lifetime entirely. So yeah, time is weird.