THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS FROM AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN WITH ASPERGER’S AS I APPROACH MY 50th BIRTHDAY
18, 263 days old – at least as of this coming Sunday.
I’ll be honest, as I usually am…
Anytime anyone reaches fifty years of life, it needs to be celebrated.
Particularly – considering the sometimes extreme tension and polarization that we are currently in – those who are Black males in America.
And on the Autism Spectrum to boot.
Which is why I’m celebrating my 50th birthday this weekend with something that I haven’t done in decades and won’t do again…
Throw a big party.
I can’t imagine being fifty years old, and I probably won’t be able to imagine it even after the fact as when I was a kid – and throughout my life, really – I saw fifty as being, for lack of a better way to describe it, on the border between regular adulthood and senior citizen status.
What’s more, it’s hard to imagine the people I knew as kids, who I went to school and grew up with, turning fifty.
Yes, I know what people say:
“50 is the new 40 (or 30 or whatever)”,
“Age ain’t nothing but a number”,
And I don’t disagree with those sentiments as save for a gout condition and the hypertension that I’m controlling quite nicely with medication, changing my diet and exercise as well as playing pick-up softball on a regular basis for over twenty years, I think I’m in pretty good shape.
I like this mug – shows the year I was born and the fact that yes, my parts are original! Photo courtesy of amazon.com
It’s still weird to think of myself as a fifty-something.
Especially when I look back on my life, as I reckon folks commonly do when they reach a milestone birthday.
When I think about it, although there have been some struggles in my social and emotional development due to having Asperger’s as I was bullied and shunned as a young guy in school and have had troubles working for someone else in subsequent years, not being able to hold a job for longer for three years,
Which is the reason why I became a writer and online blogger with a book describing my experiences as an Aspie, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, nearly done with a target date for (self) publication at the end of the summer,
And although I have missed out on some of the stages of life considered normal in American society such as marriage and opposite sex relationships as my behavior has for the most part rendered me as “not boyfriend/husband material” – which I have accepted as marriage is not for everyone,
I can honestly say that I have had a blessed life to this point, a life for which I am grateful.
I have a family, friends, and particularly a mother that has loved, understood and supported me, which considering my place on the Autism Spectrum hasn’t always been the easiest thing to do,
Grandparents who gave me an idyllic childhood, who I’ll always love and, as they are no longer with us, dearly miss,
And have enjoyed a relatively middle class life.
In other words, I have been quite lucky and fortunate that God has blessed me this way.
Especially since there are SO many people whose lot in life hasn’t been close to being how they would like as living in the Los Angeles area, the nation’s homeless capital, I see plenty of the less fortunate.
This is really cool; a list of things that happened the year I was born, including celebrities who will like wise be celebrating their 50th birthdays – though they spelled Kurt Cobain’s (RIP) name wrong. Image courtesy of Pinterest.com
My Biggest Birthday Wish (Besides the usual good time at my big shindig):
I want to spend Sunday – my actual birthday – in the place where I was born and spent my early childhood…
Riverside, CA, as that was where my grandparents gave me my idyllic childhood, living in a rural area (more suburban today) outside of town where my neighbors had horses and I had cows for a time; there’s even a picture of me at eight years old feeding one.
As there’s a heat wave approaching the area this weekend and my tolerance for 90 to 100 degree-plus weather has waned in recent years, I won’t be devastated if I don’t get to be there as I’ll do something else special.
But it would be fitting if I was in the town where I spent my early formative years fifty years to the day that I was born.
Outside of that, I just want to have an enjoyable weekend.
And if someone came up to me and said that I could have one wish, I would say to be in good health as a friend of mine puts it quite well,
“The best wealth is health.”
Summing Things Up As My Big Day Approaches:
The first thing I’m going to do when I wake up the morning of June 18th is say a big prayer of thanks to God for letting me see my 50th birthday.
I see it as a gift a there’s quite a few people I knew and grew up with who are tragically unable to have a 50th birthday as they are no longer here.
That’s why my overall feelings are those of appreciation and gratitude.
I won’t take this birthday, or any subsequent birthdays, for granted as being an African-American with Asperger’s, I am very thankful that my life has gone the way it has.
I hope that I feel the same way, and be able to say the same things I’m saying now, in the next three decades.
I certainly hope this birthday is a happy one for me. Photo courtesy of monicahswe.wordpress.com