Thursday, 20 August 2009

Birthdays and learning...

It's my birthday today, (Thursday 20th August 2009). I came into the world 33 years ago at 10.05am GMT, weighing seven pounds, five ounces. For my birthday I have got six T-shirts, aftershave, razor and foam (The only time I have ever had a beard in my life was between Friday 28th February 1997 and Monday 1st September 1997. I shaved it off the day after Princess Diana died), £30 and ten cards. Interestingly, I have had five cards from friends, and five from family members, and an happy birthday text from my two cousins, who were born in April 1994 and September 1996. The family members I am closest to have sent me cards.

I don't like a fuss generally with anything, including birthdays. When I turned 30 in August 2006, my mum offered to put a big bash on. I declined that offer. If I am still here on my 40th, or 50th or 70th birthdays, and relatives, or others who know it is my birthday, put a photograph of me in the local newspaper when I was very young, I wouldn't be angry with them, but I would remark that I would have preferred it if they hadn't done so.

I haven't arranged or organised anything special for my birthday this year, but it is not a milestone birthday, like my 18th was, or my 21st or my 30th. I am seven years away from my 40th. This may sound strange to a lot of people, but I enjoyed my 30th birthday a great deal more than either my 18th or 21st.

Why, you may ask. Why did you enjoy a birthday when you were older? Eighteen and twenty-one? You were in the prime of your life. You should have been out there in nightclubs, chatting in women up, and being the life and soul of every party you went to. That is maybe you. What other people do and don't do is a matter for them. I didn't enjoy those two birthdays, but my 30th birthday I did.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that in August 1994, I hadn't heard of AS, and in August 1997, I didn't know that I had it, and at those stages of my life, I didn't really know who or what I was. This feeling of greater self-contentment didn't just come to being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and with it a greater level of self-awareness though. I just have felt, as a person, more content with myself as I have got older. I know what situations I feel comfortable and uncomfortable with, and I no longer push myself, or try to be who or what I am not.

When it comes to learning, I always learn better when I teach myself how to do things, as opposed to other people formally learning me, mainly because they can either go too fast for me to process information at their rate, or because my mind and learning is ahead of theirs.

I prefer it when not many people are around me when I am learning, so I can concentrate on what I am doing, not on socialisation and interaction. The environment has to be correct for me to progress well, though as said, apart from reading and writing, a lot of my skills, such as being able to touch-type at 70 words per minute, and being able to speed-read, and read upside down and information what I know, is self-taught.

Talking of learning, the A-level results are out today. The usual suspects will be wheeled out to claim that the exams are getting easier, and that grades are being inflated since "Their day". They probably are, but "their day" was a long time ago. You may have read in early June this year I heard a woman being asked over her mobile phone what "Cynical" means. Her daughter will have finished the first year of her A-level English Language course now. This provides evidence to back up the claims of the cynics!

However, whether the grades are being inflated or not, and there is evidence to back up claims that they are, and that they are not, I would like to congratulate any student who has worked hard to obtain the grades they require to go to University. Well done, and best wishes for the future.


Blogger stageoflife said...

I came across your blog tonight. My Google alert service directed me to it because you used a "stage of life" phrase in your piece. Normally I move on if the article doesn't pertain to my business but I actually took a moment to read your story and wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed it.

Best to you,


P.s. We always welcome writers like you to our project. Feel free to contribute if you'd like. I'm looking from an international point of view on life as we're mostly US based now.

21 August 2009 at 05:16  

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