Monday with Maureen: “When I Need to Leave My Comfort Zone as an Autistic Person”

Whenever you have the chance, visit this blog post on The Mighty, written by John Long about combating the temptation to stay in his comfort zone as an adult on the spectrum.

I invite you to give it a read for two reasons: (1) because Long begins the blog by referencing C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, an excellent reading choice that deserves being bragged about, and (2) because his perspective on life as an autistic individual is one of wisdom, whittled into shape through years of experiences, formative relationships and growth.

My mantra, which my sons are doubtlessly tired of hearing, is that the accommodations for autistic individuals are different but the expectations are not. This translates particularly well to classroom settings, so I may or may not have said it to both my boys on enough occasions to earn the “broken record” accusation. Be that as it may, I will stand by it and say that for anyone to live their life fully, there has to be a balance of knowing what you need, and knowing when you have to experience hard or scary things in order to do more than exist without consequence.

That said, Long’s blog post eloquently describes the experiences of someone managing that very balance day by day. With resolve and willingness to learn, Long’s words can speak into anyone’s life, autistic or not. Seeing the limitations of dwelling exclusively in one’s comfort zone makes it gradually easier to identify when retreating or resting in a safe space offers healthful results versus when it prevents them.

Anyway. Give it a read and consider where your comfort zone could be bent a little for your own good, if personal growth sounds like a good time to you. If not, just track down a copy of The Great Divorce and enjoy that instead. It’s a stupendous book, believe me.

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