Ever since I was a child I have enjoyed to spend a lot of time by myself. Indeed it took quite some years for me to see and understand that interacting and connecting with other people is equally beneficial. There was even a time not too long ago when I questioned as to whether interacting with others really was necessary. This is one of the main characteristics that led me towards being diagnosed with autism.
It’s true that I’m rather ignorant of all the happiness and knowledge that often comes from connecting with other people. This along with controlling my anxiety is the main life lesson that I’m always having to work on. I must learn to fully realise that connecting with others is very important. Though I do often come across people who vice-versa are just as ignorant about how much can be experienced and learned from being in our own company. There are various kinds of “solo activities” that can keep me happy for hours and that offer so much for me to learn.
In an attempt to begin somewhere (as the possible activities are so various) I’ll start with the topic of all kinds of computers and especially my iPad. Devices like these are fantastic because I can read books and articles on almost every topic, which can then lead me to resources outside of the internet if I develop a strong interest in the subject. Watching documentaries prior to going to bed and reading books about my favourite topics also gives me such a strong sense of happiness.
Being connected to the internet connects us to the entire world. So by reading and watching things online, we’re offered an opportunity to learn about other places as well as other languages. All of this can be done from reading, watching and studying (and not having to communicate with people, despite that having equal kinds of benefits in other areas).
Another activity that entertains me for hours is creating places of the world using digital sandbox games (including Minecraft, Lego Worlds, Fortnite, Portal Knights and Pixel Ark). While I build re-creations of either real cities or fictional worlds, my imagination enables me to travel and have vacations to many more places than my physical body and/or money can ever take me. Building everything to as much detail as I possibly can, draws my imagination and emotions in so much that I truly get the exact same pleasure as travelling there would give me.
I experience very much the same feeling whenever I am learning a language other than my first, which in my case is English. Learning and practicing every single verb, adjective, noun, adverb etc. in sentences (relating to my daily life) gives me a wonderful snapshot of the culture/s of who owns that language. When I learned a little about other languages in primary school and even high school it wasn’t the same for me. Memorising ten random words a week was not as fascinating and engaging as delving right into the language is. Even when we had to construct sentences, they were very simple ones that I could never relate to those of which I would use casually in my life.
So, I want to end this piece by saying that connecting with other people and gaining information and pleasure from outside sources is very important. Just like everything else in life it contains it’s own pros, and I must continue to learn how to appreciate them more. However gaining stimulation, enjoyment and factual information from internal sources and/or 100% in our own company must never be overlooked either. Perhaps this current global situation of being in lockdowns, and having to stay at home far more often is a great time for every person to appreciate all the benefits of being in our own company from time to time.
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From my personal perspective, everybody has different genetic appearances. No two sets of eyes, mouths or any other physical features look 100% the same. This is even the case with siblings who are monozygotic. So, therefore, identifying facial expressions is just as difficult a task for me as choosing a grain of sand, and then trying to identify that after it has been randomly mixed amongst billions of others in a box is.