I might as well cite the best definition (from dictionary.com) to describe what I will talk about today: Commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as must be done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity.
One characteristic of people with autism is a rigid following of certain routines, and resistance to change. Indeed, when I was younger, I was very resistant to change of my routine. Although I don’t recall all my common routines when I was younger, I know there were some things I didn’t like to change. For example, during late elementary and middle school, I was always awake at 06:30, and would always go to sleep at 21:00 after the Looney Tunes and/or Tom & Jerry show on Cartoon Network. (Those cartoons are classics!)
This insistence on routine seems to be a little bit different from other teenagers, as my internal clock must not have gotten the strange pattern of many teenagers. During high school, I was invariably asleep by 21:30 on school nights and 23:00 on non-school nights, and up at 05:50 in the morning (I had a class at 07:00). Sometimes, I wonder if the grogginess of teenagers in the morning is innate in most teenagers, or whether it’s some sort of learnt behavior. Although I used an alarm clock to arise most mornings in high school and even today, the alarm always succeeds in waking me up.
Throughout college, I continued to push my bedtime later. I remember when I was still insistent on sleeping at 21:30 on school nights, and that got pushed toward 22:00 and 22:30 as I was at UNL. The most salient violation of my routine was the first week of being encouraged (i.e. basically forced) to go to the Neihardt Council meeting as a floor. As I wrote in my journal about this:
“Of course, as I prepared for bed [around 21:20], the floor-mates of Piper 4 kidnapped me to the Blue TV Lounge for Neihardt Council, and the meeting was only an explanation of the format. Obviously, I was tired, and the pizza offered afterward didn’t reconcile (since I had already brushed my teeth). Oh well!”
The morning routine is also something that has been interesting to me. When I was in middle and high school, it always consisted of eating breakfast down in the kitchen and preparing for the day before driving or being driven to school. It also involved reading the Lincoln Journal-Star, and occasionally with some discussion with Mom and Dad about interesting articles. I’m not sure whether reading the paper in the morning was something I developed on my own or whether they helped me to appreciate it.
Driving to school always had me listening to a radio station: in middle school, it was KTGL 92.9 The Eagle until their morning show stopped playing music. As I started listening to 80’s music, I found 101.1 KLIR from Columbus(!) and as I listened to it in the morning in the car, it seemed like many days I would hear the news at 06:30, and as I approached Southeast, would hear either “Don’t Know Why” by Nora Jones or “Sussudio” by Phil Collins. If the latter was still on as I got to C-Lot, I would wait to turn off the car until the song ended.
Routines changed again as I pushed my wake-up time ahead by 30 minutes during my senior year. The morning was still the same, but this time I would listen to KGOR and/or B107.3 to hear their game shows “Definitions” and “Battle of the Sexes,” respectively. I would always arrive at UNL early enough to be able to read the Daily Nebraskan before my MATH 208 or PHYS 211 class.
Once college began in earnest, the morning routine was to arise at 06:30 and get to CPN (or one of the other dining halls) just as they opened. In the first year, I sometimes ate with Phillip, sometimes with other people, and sometimes alone. The TV was always playing “Good Morning America,” and that would sometimes guide the discussion topics. Once my sophomore year came around, especially after December 1 when we formally met, Michelle joined the breakfast club through the rest of my undergraduate career.
After breakfast at UNL, I always returned to the room in time to hear “Battle” at 07:45, and also read the Journal-Star and/or other papers, while doing the crossword and sudoku puzzles. Sometimes I think I spent too much time puzzling over the puzzles! But, because I made it a priority to attempt them, I did spend a lot of time doing those. Sometimes I would journal in the morning and sometimes I would not.
When I first got to Chicago, I found that the radio aspect of my morning routine could not continue, as the only station that I got in Engelhart was WNUR, and although I could listen to it, I thought it might be a good way to change my routine and see if I could adjust to something new. Reading the newspaper continued as a morningly routine, at least during the first year, as well as puzzles for about the first quarter.
Each day is different, though. However, it seems that regardless of the morning, I do some sort of reading or writing during the morning. In particular, the newspaper reading is often replaced by journaling or blogging on mornings when I have blog topics or journal catchup to do… and sometimes the delivery of the Tribune is unreliable. Right after I got back from Israel, my morningly routine was to eat breakfast while transcribing a day of my journal from Israel, one day at a time. And now for this month, I have mostly done my posts in the morning, even if they have been delayed on the posting.
Another thing, though, is that “Battle” has returned to my morning routine, thanks to online streaming and TuneIn Radio!
So it was more a chronicling of my morning and occasional evening routines. The point is that they have changed over time, and even though I may have Asperger’s, I have become much more receptive to change in my routine. You have to be ready to change what will be your normal routine, because life is always about the changes.
Today’s counts and nugget:
Today is the 16th day of MAPLE.
היום תשעה ושלושים יום, שהם חמישה שבועת וארבעה ימים לעמר
Change is natural–embrace it!
Yesterday’s Score was 22-55.