The Trouble With Transitions

Transitions are always hard for me. Whether it is moving to another house, starting a new job, meeting a new person, starting a different routine, or even something as mundane as getting new furniture, life changes are hard for me.

There are different types of transitions for me: There are day-to-day transitions and live events. Day-to-day changes are thinks like going from one activity to the next, being asked to do a chore when I am in the middle of something, or sometimes as simple as being talked to. Life events are things such as dating, meeting new people, job searching, getting new furniture (believe it or not, yes, this is a life change), or moving. Each one affects me in different ways.

When I get new furniture or move (or even travel to a hotel), for the next month or so (or the first day or so with a vacation as it’s not permanent), I feel like the room is “alien,” almost like I’ve never been there before. This eventually will wear off. New people make me nervous, but as I get to know them, this too wears off.  Job getting is a different story.

With jobs and job searching, I often feel like my success depends on others. Conflicting messages are hard:  I once got a bonus and was threatened with having my pay cut — all in the space of ONE DAY! This completely fried my brain. Coupled with other (non-Aspie friendly) factors, I eventually quit. This is not to say that factors have to be completely “perfect.” More on this in another entry)

As far as job searching, I have come to realize that it is reliant on many factors, most of which are beyond my control. Some of those factors are the economic conditions of the time, the filters employers use on resumes, and so on. As such, I change my goals so it relies on me (more on this in another entry).

Day-to-day transitions are trickier. If you remember from my last entry, I have a “thought cloud” going all the time in my head. Talking to other people, if I can schedule a “break” in the cloud, is not so bad. Other times, as I’ve mentioned, I have to come to a “stopping point” to do a chore.

My parents, when I was little, were very good at this. They would give me “warnings” (“two-minute warning,” they’d say before we had to leave or do something). Though they sometimes overkilled it, it helped me get to a point where I could “drop off” and focus on what they wanted. However, as I’ve gotten older, they have migrated from that to starting to talk to me almost immediately to get me to do something. With no transition time to look at them and comprehend what I am saying, this is jarring. My old boss got that I needed help with this. “Greg, we need to switch gears,” she’d say, giving me about 5 seconds to look at her, understand what she was saying, and then take action and change my focus to whatever new task she had in mind. That’s really all I need.

Some people may think the above suggestions to be too much, that there’s too much “working around” me. But remember: I want to be a part of my family and be a productive member of society; I just need a little help sometimes!

GREG TRUTNER

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