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  • Andrew Scott Bassett

My amazing and wonderful son Austin graduated from high school a few days ago. As with any parent, it's still tough to wrap my head around the fact that my boy has already reached this age. What makes the event even more remarkable is the fact that my son is autistic, in fact, severely autistic. He struggles with things that most kids do without thinking about. He needs help with everyday activities that other high school seniors can easily accomplish by themselves.

So all these considerations go into the planning of his graduation night and ceremony as you would imagine. I spent two mornings down at his school hanging out and watching the seniors practice for the graduation ceremony. The normal kids, as society likes to call them, you know, the kids who aren't special needs like my son, well they would have no issue with the ceremony and what was expected of them. However, asking my autistic son, who is usually on the move and rarely just sitting around, to sit through even this short graduation program, and it was short, only about an hour long, would be unreasonable and unfair to my boy as well as the other kids who would be distracted by my son's inability to just sit still and listen to the speakers. Oh, and the parents of the other kids graduating who might always have the memory from this important night of not only their child but also my child acting out or doing something to bring attention to himself during the ceremony, that also would be completely unfair to everyone else. Of course, it was important for myself and my wife, to see our boy graduate just like the rest of the kids, but at the same time, we had no desire to take away from the great event and have our son be a distraction to the service. This is in a nutshell the great struggle for the parent of an autistic child, on one hand, you want them to be as normal as possible and experience the same things other kids do, but on the other hand, you don't want them to take away joyful and memorable experiences from other children and their parents, it's a emotional tightrope truly we walk each day.

After each graduation practice those first two days I spoke with my son's school principal. Fortunately for us, he was a nice and understanding man who wanted us to bridge the same struggles I had just spoken about. That is that our son and we his parents would get to relish in his graduation ceremony as much as possible and at the same time distract as little as possible from the other seniors doing the same thing. We made a plan together, the principal and I, and the wonderful woman running the graduation program. After much deliberation and discussion, we decided that our son wouldn't have to sit through all the speeches and songs. We would instead lead him out from behind the back barriers which stood behind the other sitting graduates. He would come out after the talking and music had stopped and he would move forward and be the very first student to have his name called. I would be on one side of him and his classroom aid would be on the other side.

It was a good plan, except for one thing, the WEATHER. This was an outside ceremony held on the football field. This year has been a strange one for weather, and graduation night was no different. Normally it's sunny and hot this time of year, early June. But this year we have had the most rain seen in a long, long, time. That is a nice thing, except, when you are attempting outside events like, well, a high school graduation. Rain was in the forecast to hit about the same time that the ceremony would start. Thunder and lightning were also a possibility for our area and were actually taking place all over our area. As I stood with my special needs son, my arm locked around his, ready to make the triumphant walk toward the stage where my son would receive his diploma and handshake, the clouds began to open up and deposited their moisture upon us. My brother who was in attendance had joked before the ceremony started that if the lightning did hit that we could see the biggest barbeque in state history since most everyone watching the event was sitting on metal bleachers. At last, with the rain picking up steam, but thankfully, no lightning or thunder to speak of, important since large booming sounds certainly don't go down well with those on the autism spectrum, yes at last, my son's name was called and we soldiered up to the podium and he got that well-deserved diploma and handshake. Everyone was a winner this night, my son, overcoming so much to graduate. We his parents getting to enjoy and revel in the moment of his great accomplishment, and the other kids there, you know the so-called normal ones, and their parents, not ever having even the slightest idea about all we went through to make the night special not only for our child but for theirs too.


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  • Andrew Scott Bassett

I have always been one of those people who fell into the trap of waiting for some future accomplishment or event to decide to then really allow myself to be satisfied or enjoy the present. I have found during therapy, yes I go to therapy and recommend it to everyone, that I am not alone in this unhealthy way of thinking. What a trap it is. The cost of such silly ideas is great, you don't enjoy your family, career, or anything like you should. Sadly, by the time you figure out how much you've lost, the damage to relationships, career hopes, and so much more is already done. Often your kids by then have little use for you, not that they hate you as much as they just have gotten used to the idea of not having you around much, or at least playing a big part in their daily life. When you show interest in the things they are interested in, they wonder why. It's so natural for them not to have you around when it matters that it's strange when you are. Same with your spouse, the closeness you should have with them is no longer there and you find it very difficult to get it back. For me, it's about being aware that I have a problem with being in the now, and that I have to learn to enjoy the moment I am currently in, not some future moment that may never occur. It's also about me being as interested in the well-being of those who are close to me, as I am about myself. I was a child abandoned by my father as a kid, it is very common for abandoned children to become workaholics and not even know it, I did. To break these patterns of thinking takes a lot of focus and self-awareness on a person's part, it is difficult, I won't kid you, but not impossible. I am proof of that. I feel like I am aware of my world like never before. It still is a process, however, and I have to check my thinking all the time so as not to lapse back into my "old ways".

Recently, I got my biggest test for my new mental life as I like to call it. My new novel, "The Rosey View Of The World" made a bestseller list for ebooks on Amazon. The accomplishment had a lot to do with my promotions and own efforts, more than people actually discovering my book, but no matter, a bestseller list is a bestseller list, in any form thank you very much. Anyhoo, The old Andy would have been unable to enjoy the temporary success, the old Andy would feel pressure to do it again or wonder what was next that had to be done. The old Andy would have been stressed out by thoughts of how to achieve more. But, thankfully, that didn't happen this time, maybe for the first time. This time I allowed the limited success and that's what it truly was, my book stayed on this particular bestseller list for only about a week before tumbling back down the rankings, to be soaked in, and really appreciated. I didn't just brush off the praise and congrats I received from others, instead I let those warm feelings of validation flood over me. In short, I lived in the moment, finally. I pushed back on what's next, on my next move with the novel or any future projects. I bathed in the glow of accomplishment until I was ready to get out of the bath and towel off, now clean as a whistle and completely refreshed. For those people like me reading this who suffer the same issue, unable to enjoy their present, I'm here to tell you there is a better way. It's a better way for your spouse or significant other, a better way for your kids, and just as importantly a better way, and really a better life for yourself. Life is too short already to pass up the opportunities you get to celebrate the blessings in your life you have, and we all have more than we realize.

For me, I am plotting my next books, yes plural, possibly running another promotion for my Rosey novel, maybe we can hit the bestseller list of ebooks a second time. But, all these things I am doing at a pace and schedule that doesn't overtake the rest of my life, you know the things that are really important, enjoying your kids, holding hands with the love of your life, watching that next sunset or full moon appear. Life is indeed short, too short actually, let's not make it shorter, Let's live in the moment every chance we get.

Here Are Some Great Tips For Living A Better And More Meaningful Life

The answer is within: Only you know how to make life meaningful

By Maggie Wooll

How to add meaning to your life Regardless of your life stage, there’s something you can do to learn what a meaningful life is for you. Here are some actions that can point you in the right direction. 1. Live in the present moment Ten years ago, did you think you would be where you are? Probably not. Your life is full of twists and turns, each as unpredictable as the one before it. And here’s a newsflash: your journey isn’t over yet. You have many plot twists yet to come, and you don’t know when they’ll arrive. You can’t control the future. All you can do is focus on the here and now, work hard, and accept change as it comes. 2. Focus on what’s important to you Whether it’s a recruiter pinging you on LinkedIn or a family member asking a favor, it often feels like everyone wants a piece of you. You have to learn to put your energy where it matters, which requires continued self-discovery and self-awareness. If you can identify and nurture the most important parts of your life, you can let go of the other stressors that are bringing you down and better regulate your emotions. 3. Be kind to others and yourself The science is in: being kind to others strongly correlates with leading a happy life. Every time you hold a door for someone, say thank you to the cashier, or volunteer at your local shelter, you’re forging connections that can improve your emotional well-being. But, as you impact people’s lives, it’s important to also extend kindness toward yourself. Proper self-care can help you avoid conditions like caregiver burnout, which stems from sacrificing your own life in service of others. Setting strong boundaries will help you maintain your mental health and radiate kindness for years to come. 4. Don’t hold a grudge To live a fulfilling life, you must learn to forgive the people who’ve hurt you. Otherwise, your grudges will tie you to the past like a ball and chain. Some things are easier to forgive than others. Depending on the nature of the offense, you may have to grieve what the person took away from you. But once you do, you can continue down your path to fulfillment. 5. Take a risk Life is too short not to take risks now and again. If anything, standing still is the bigger risk: if you never try anything new, you may never discover your own sense of meaning. So take that job, go on that trip, and ask that person out on a date. You may surprise yourself. 6. Make time for your passions Spending time on activities you love is the crux of a good life. If you’re lucky, you’ll be passionate about your job. If not, you might find joy in your personal time. Whether it’s music, rock climbing, or running, making time for your interests helps you find meaning. 7. Set goals Even if you can’t control the future, you can set milestones to give yourself a sense of direction. Ideally, your long-term goals would directly relate to your beliefs and values and overarching vision for your life. For example, if you value family, “I want to buy a house and have a child within the next five years.” Your short-term goals can help inch you toward this overarching vision. For example, “Within the next year, I want to raise my income to $100,000 per year so I can afford a home.” Your short-term goals may not always work out. As we said earlier, life has surprises in store for you. But they can, at the very least, keep you pointed in the right direction, so you’re always working toward a life that’s meaningful to you. 8. Choose your friends wisely You are the company you keep. If your “friends” regularly put you down, question your choices, or discourage you from pursuing your dreams, they’re probably not worth keeping around. It’s important to surround yourself with people who will support you when you need it and help you become the person you want to be. Life is what you make of it Learning how to make life meaningful is an exercise in self-discovery. We spend so much time looking at external factors, like our jobs, friends, or spouse, for an instant sense of purpose. And while they can eventually be sources of meaning for you, they can’t fulfill that role until you do the Inner Work®. You’ll have to dig deep to discover the things that matter to you. You may learn that, after years of giving yourself to an unfulfilling career, your family is the most important thing in your life. Or, if your family is more a source of stress than support, deep friendships could be what you value most. It’s also possible that, after looking inward, you simply don’t have the pieces of the puzzle yet. You may have to put yourself in new situations to see what feels right. Don’t be afraid to go on a solo trip, volunteer in your community, or start your own business. Mitigating risk is smart, but it can hold you back if you let it. Your life meaning will reveal itself in due time — but it’ll come faster if you’re out there looking for it. WELL-BEING Published November 18, 2022

Maggie Wooll Thought Leader

And Now To Emphasize My Thoughts On The Subject Matter Of The Blog: This song came on the radio when I got the phone call my father had passed, true story, live for the now, let those around you know how you feel about them.



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