I am going to go out of sequence here on my RetComLife reports and talk about my anticipation of one of the most frustrating issues about this new lifestyle I have chosen.
My wife and I were pretty much by ourselves for the last dozen years or so, things just seemed more peaceful then. Now that I am surrounded by dozens of people several times a day, the frustration builds. When it was just her and me, the issues of my deafness and Aspie traits were irrelevant. We got along just fine. No communications problems, no trying to figure out social clues. It was just her and me… all that other stuff didn’t matter.
Now that she is gone, I have no one to talk to me in sign language. I definitely miss that. But most of all, I am now being reacquainted with the problems of fitting in as an Aspie, let alone a deaf one in the hearing world.
Before I get into that, I have to go way back to my dating years to give you an idea of my frustrations. In high school, I was considered a very shy person. It turns out that that is a typical description of young Aspies. I had a couple of dates during those years, but they were superficial at best.
During college, I did a little better, but not much. I rationalized that since I was working 40 hours a week and spending so many hours a day studying, there was just no time for dating. After college, it was pretty much the same, but with different rationalizations. I had several dates, but practically nothing got past the second one. By the time I was thirty, I had given up the possibility of being married. That seemed impossible. And then, almost a decade later, came along the love of my life. We had our first date in December and were married the first week in April. We were inseparable during those brief three months. I still don’t understand how we linked up so thoroughly and quickly, but I was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. (If you don’t understand that phrase, you are either too young or too urban) 😎
Aspies are known to have some pretty serious problems with social situations, and I am frustratingly one of them. I have tried to make friends during the dinner hour here in my new home, but most never come around after a couple of times sitting together. I know I talk too loud for many, but that is about the only way I can get any feedback as to when I say something. I also know that I have difficulty figuring out when it is my time to talk, and especially when the person I am talking to loses interest in what I am saying. I just don’t seem to have a clue to either circumstance.
I have to find my way in this strange new world of retirement community life, but that kinda seems impossible right now. Especially when I start feeling sorry for myself. But I will continue working on that. I can’t give up the dream that sometime in the future at least some of my fellow residents will be able to look beyond my differences and just accept me for who I am.
Accomplishing that is mostly my challenge, not so much theirs.