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Roger N. Meyer "...of a different mind "
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ON BEING TOO BUSY

Roger N. Meyer

Copyright 2000  All rights reserved

 

 

     [This essay is a response to a post by the co-owner of a listserv.  The poster shared her concern about the over commitment of friends, an over commitment that found them too busy to attend a celebratory event for her son.]

 

Lori:

 

     I, too, have the problem of "being too busy."  Others comment that I have so many things going on (so many projects) that they can't understand how one person can attend to any one of them let alone the whole shootin' match.

 

     Well....part of it is the unorganized Aspie in me.  I know that.  And I am, -- I say to myself and others -- trying to get a bead on that.  Pulling out of an Email list that was overwhelming was just one way I've found to give myself more time.  I've become the couch potato that all of us fear our children becoming.  So, finally, I "take the plunge" (literally) and set up a swimming and regular exercise and conditioning schedule for myself.  Hard to do for someone who has always relied on his work to keep trim.  But do it I will.

 

     As for the other projects:  Those too have their natural priorities, and if I don't "get to" a project for a while, I usually have a good reason for it.  Not that anyone else understands.  However, it is a good enough reason for ME, and I am the final arbiter of my own output.

 

     At this point I feel pretty good about that output, so I say the Hell with other people's judgment about what is too much.  Today I'm much less driven by other people's shoulds.  Not that I'm any less driven by my own, but I find my own shoulds are positive, nurturing, and deeply satisfying.  So why not "bite off more than I can chew?"  I have only a smallish stomach (but a large girth), so I figure that just like the kid who loads the plate at the smorgasbord line, I'll "find bottom."

 

     And....I usually do.

 

     The thing that pleases me the most is that my shoulds now involve other people.  Finally, my craving for acceptance and affiliation is being satisfied, and I am doing the work to make that happen.  Like everyone else I feel badly when someone else cancels a date or an appointment.  We all do.  But now I don't think that's because of anything I have done.  When someone can't make a date or an event, it's often because they are doing things that define them as persons.  I accept that as I accept them.

 

     This leaves me free of the kinds of thoughts that lead to having a grudge.  Because of my own nature I don't cancel things because I am overloaded or over committed.  I somehow make time.  I make it because I remember others who didn't or couldn't in my past.  It's also a matter of style.  I prefer the sense of busyness to one of an open calendar.  It's a constant reminder that I am in charge of my life, not someone else, and the commitments made are the ones I choose.

 

     When you come down to it, it is a matter of choice.  Now, as never before, I feel the power of being in control of my life.  That power is "paying me back in spades" for each moment before picking up my sword and scepter when I didn't feel in control.  Of my 58 years, those moments comprised 55 years.  So, I have a lot of catching up to do if one were to think of this as a race towards fulfillment of opportunities missed.

 

     Going after those things is an act of positive choice, and a natural outcome of affirmations of my competence, love for others, and, ultimately, love of myself.

 

     Somehow, I find myself never too busy to care about others.  Others perceive my passion for righting the upset cart of others' lives as an exercise in the futility they have experienced.  My answer is that "I'm not you, nor am I them.  I'm me."  Right now the boundlessness I feel is a righteous one, fueled by the self-inflicted and misdirected pain of my own past.  Critics who don't know me well consider much of what I do as indicative of a lack of boundaries.  I occasionally agree, and on such occasions, do the checking in and permission seeking I should have done prior to my intervention.

 

     You know what?  I usually find things "OK" with other people.  Just the act of asking, often in the midst of an involvement, is self-affirming as well as an act of additional connection--one that invariably draws me closer to the person or to the institutional involvement.

 

     Three years ago almost to this date, I couldn't imagine what the unshackling effect of my AS diagnosis would entail.  I know now.

 

     And I wouldn't have it any other way.

 

Copyright Issues

 

This article is copyright, all rights reserved by the author, Roger N. Meyer.  It may be reproduced in single copy once for personal use, and in no more than ten copies total for educational purposes.  Fair Use is authorized for all purposes and under conditions established by US Statute and the International Copyright Convention, to which the United States is a signatory nation.  No person shall publish, distribute, copy, or by other means make this material available to others for purposes of personal gain or professional self-aggrandizement.  Individuals wishing permission to exercise other than fair use or limited distribution as outlined above must contact the author, in writing, and receive explicit written permission from the author prior to engaging in further use of this material.

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