I’d say my life as someone with autism is amazing where it is today. However, if some things didn’t happen in my life, my life may or may not be where it is today. I look back at my life and say “That was a great decision I made and it still impacts my life today.”
These are the 5 greatest decisions I made as a man with autism.
1. Getting a job at 15
15 may be too young to work. However, I was very immature to the max at 15. I felt I was capable of doing some kind of work as a teenager. I walked down to a Burger King when I was 15 and asked for an application. I took it home to fill it out. I had it back there the next day. I was waiting nervously what the manager was going to say. I ended up hearing, “come for an interview.” I was nervous and excited about that. I went for the interview and got the job. It helped me learn to interact with peers, money management and got me some work experience for future jobs. It also taught me some maturity. Also, if I didn’t have the jobs after this one, I wouldn’t be moved out and have the things I’ve gotten later in my life.
2. Going to college
I know not everybody with autism goes to college. It’s one of the hardest things someone with autism has to face. Most people with a form of autism dream of going to college. I was lucky and blessed to get a college education. I learn more maturity in college and skills I needed to get a better job than warehousing and fast food. I felt at times that college didn’t do anything for me. However, I think today that some of the jobs I had I wouldn’t have gotten if I didn’t go to college. I only went to a community college, but it’s still better than no college at all. College isn’t for everyone, but it was for me.
3. Dating my college girlfriend
Not everyone with autism goes on a date. I was lucky to be dating in college. My college girlfriend had a major impact on my life besides being my first girlfriend. She gave me something else too. Some people are meant to come into your life no matter what. Whether they stay or not, it doesn’t matter. If I didn’t meet my college girlfriend, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. She was the one who got me into liking Shania Twain. We were on a date at a Red Robin restaurant, she tells me about Shania Twain, and the rest is history.
4. Going to Las Vegas to see Shania Twain
I started dreaming of meeting Shania Twain after college. I figured since she returned to the stage in Vegas that she was going to tour again soon. However, my gut told me not to wait until then. I’ve never been to Las Vegas before at that time. I’ve never been out West either. I asked my mom if she would go with me to see Shania Twain in Las Vegas. She responded, “if you pay for it.” I had the money, and that was the best $2000 I’ve spent in my entire life. On top of it, I hear lucky fans will be brought on stage during the shows. I was one of them! Getting on that stage to meet my favorite singer was priceless. If I waited for her to tour again, I wouldn’t have met Shania Twain.
5. Joining a Toastmasters International Club
There’s a long story to this. I remember a time reaching out to a website over being single. It was during the worst year of my life which was 2014. When I reached out to them about how I can’t find another girlfriend, they responded not only with stop looking, but how to go about making friends. They mentioned Toastmasters International, a program to learn how to get better at public speaking and being a leader. I always wanted to be a motivational speaker after meeting Shania Twain. I decided to finally look into a Toastmasters club 3 years later. I decided to join one with the goal of becoming a motivational speaker. I visited a club and enjoyed it. I went to another meeting after a psychiatric hospital visit and joined. I’ve done over 7 speeches. I got 4 Best Speaker Ribbons and many other achievements. I built confidence that impacted things in my life outside of the club. I wanted to learn to dance, start up conversations with strangers out in the community, and sing Karaoke without any fear. I made a lot of friends in the process and went on more dates too. My website was built while in the club, and I have my own business cards. I reached out to that site again telling them how much this club impacted my life and thanked them for their advice. They responded in a great way! This will always be in my top 5 greatest decisions I’ve made as a man with autism.
If I didn’t do these 5 things, I’m not certain where I’d be right now. I’m very lucky and blessed to be where I am. There were other great decisions I’ve made to get where I am. However, these 5 were tough to top. I look forward to the future, and these 5 decisions I’ve made will impact my future for the rest of my life.