This has been the busiest month of my life, but in a really good way. I figured I’d take a moment over this long 4th of July weekend, which is definitely my longest break of the month, to reflect and be grateful for all the good things that are happening and also update you all about them before retreating again likely until the end of July or beginning of August.
First and foremost, I got a new job! Some of you may have seen me post this on Facebook a week or so ago, but now I am a week into everything and can tell you more about it. The company I worked at gave me the opportunity to interview for a different, seemingly better position, I went through the interview process, and now I’m a content writer instead of a data entry specialist. So far the work has been challenging, but I can tell it is a good fit for me. Instead of writing job descriptions, which max out at 250 characters, I now write company descriptions that are 200-250 words each. While there is some information I am required to include in each description, and I am required to follow a style guide, I am given much more latitude in how I approach these, and it truly feels like I’m using my writing degree for my job for the first time, which is an exciting development. I also am occasionally updating some of the old job descriptions on the website and editing them to make them better, which I enjoy even more. The level of detail required is intense, and I receive much more feedback than my previous job, but I’m excited to learn and grow.
Speaking of things requiring writing energy, I have also joined a Skype creative writing group for adults with autism. The timing of this group has turned out not to be ideal with everything else going on in my life, but I’m enjoying the chance to flex my creative chops and receive real feedback on them. We write one 500-3000 word prompt each week, which is a busy pace. Once I’ve edited them enough, I may post one or two of them on here. For some reason, all my stories so far fit squarely into the horror genre, and most of them do not have happy endings either, but I’m enjoying diving into characters and writing in ways that are completely out of my comfort zone.
My driving lessons continue. At the moment, I am paying for them myself and hoping to get reimbursed by the CHOICES program later. I have three more scheduled in the next few weeks, with the goal to get my license at the last one on August 4. Mr. Thompson, my instructor, did say I had improved considerably at turning during our last lesson a couple weeks ago, so I hope to continue to grow so I can get my license. Ironically, one of my primary motivations behind getting a driver’s license was to open up new job opportunities for me, and now I’ve just gotten a new job anyway, but I’m still excited to finish this task, as it will offer me many other opportunities to grow as well.
Next, it’s July, and that means the 5th annual Southeast Adult Autism Symposium that I am involved in is coming up. We are doing it virtually again this year, and it is honestly much less stressful because we are largely repeating the format we did things in last year, so there are less things to figure out and questions to answer. It still will require a lot of planning and time though as we get close to the conference dates of July 23 and 24. We have a lot of good presentations this year, including one on legal issues with autism such as how to start an ABLE account and how to get out of a conservatorship (quite relevant lately), autism and suicide prevention, and how to navigate the mental health system. You can go to gcaspies.org if you want to register or learn more about this event. While the symposium is virtual, we also re-opened the center and had our first in-person support group meeting last week. It was wonderful to meet a handful of people that I had only previously met on Zoom. We plan to continue weekly Zoom meetings but also offer monthly in-person meetings.
Finally, since the pandemic is ending, I’ve been doing a lot more visiting with family and friends. It’s nice also to have an apartment that I love and feel confident entertaining others in. My brother and his wife came to visit two years ago, and it was the first time I had seen them in 2 years. Those who know me well know I was anxious about this visit, as the chapter of my life where I lived with them in Maryland was a great one, but it ended up turning out really well. We had a great family cookout with them at my sister’s house, and it was a good chance for everyone to catch up in a relaxed environment. My friends Sarah, Robert, Cindy, Andy and little 4-year-old Bethany all also came to my apartment on Friday, and it was good to catch up and spend a fun day at the zoo.
I’ve certainly been making up for 2020 lost time this month, haven’t I? I’m trying to really take it easy at night and do relaxing activities to center myself because the days have been so busy, but I really am enjoying it all. By the end of July, the conference will be over, driving will be almost over, and I’ll be almost a month into my new job, so things will begin to feel slower. But for now, I’m just trying to enjoy all the blessings of the season. I look forward to updating more about how the conference went and how the job is going at the end of the month.