Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Autism Answer: Retirement (aka no more excuses!)

Well... my husband's last day of work is tomorrow. And then he's a retired man! He's been adorably nervous and sentimental the last few days, as is to be expected. Transitions are emotional, and this is a pretty obvious transition! 

One thing's for sure though, he won't be bored. We've been putting things off, using the phrase, "after retirement" a lot over the past year. So his to-do list is really long, and our boys are excited to be able to work alongside him now, learning and helping and getting to know their dad a little better. 

He'll have no more excuses to put off fixing the floors, getting rid of the junk in his yard, welding that trailer his friend asked him to weld two years ago, and showing our boys how to do this stuff. It's a little bit exciting and a little bit scary.

Then there's me! I promised myself that when hubby retired I'd write my books. Now that he will be more available, I can allow myself to disappear into the worlds of my making. My transition is a little less obvious, a little less impressive, because I've been gradually doing it. Learning the art of writing by working for my mom, sharing stories here with you, and writing articles and OpEds for different publications. Even jotting down the outline to my books while sitting beside the pool watching my boys swim a few years ago, then patiently allowing some of my characters to reveal their motivations and justifications over time. 

But that doesn't change the fact that I, too, will be out of excuses. I made a promise to me, and I'll struggle with an uncomfortable dislike of myself if I don't keep it. It's a little bit exciting and a little bit scary.

But here we are. And so, it's what we'll do. Starting tomorrow our old routines and excuses will be retired. We'll be living a new book, experiencing a new movie... one that we've imagined and written reviews for, a little prematurely. Without question we'll have to go back and edit our reviews in a few years, once we've begun to live the new story in real time. But I'm confident those reviews will be of the "thumbs up" nature. Not only because my family has a gift for liking most things for the sake of liking, but also because I know that both my husband and I are living our dreams. Being exactly who we wanted to be when we were little and imagined our grown-up selves. 

HIM: A Family Provider and Hard Worker
ME: A Mom and A Writer

And thanks to both parenting and autism, I am able to comfortably retire routines and excuses, regardless of how used to them I've gotten. When I was afraid to let go, I didn't encourage my children or my brothers to fly and explore their own new story... not really. I said I did, but I held back. And so they learned to hold back.

But when we learned to let go and look for those new stories with curious apprehension and a little confidence to play our roles with intention, everyone grew stronger. Everyone gained skills and retired old routines when they became excuses. We all did it in our own time, in our own ways, and with the relied upon support of each other... but we all did it!

So this is it! My husband is retiring and we are growing a new story. This epic tale that is our life is so full of fantastic, I can't even be afraid anymore! I look forward. I look back. I look all around... and I see a library filled with perspectives, styles, and insights!!

A library lacking in nothing, but never closed to new ideas!

I can't wait to share this new story with you!!
Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton