As 2020 comes to an end, I thought I’d be completely unoriginal and share some reflections on what the past year looked like for me. As with all years, 2020 was a mix of good and bad–though the pandemic certainly added a wrinkle that I did not foresee.
At the start of 2020, I was doing work through my virtual assistant service for one sole client, and anticipating becoming an official employee in January. Due to some unexpected circumstances, I ended up doing a lot more hours than expected but still through my virtual assistant service arrangement. It was not until the end of February 2020 that things calmed down enough for me to start as an official employee.
Of course, then the pandemic hit mid-March and everything was changed. I’m happy to share that I was employed throughout the pandemic and still am employed. My professional skills have developed immensely, I finally have a financial cushion, and this has been both my longest lasting and most successful job to date.
This is not to say that everything is perfect–I am fully aware of the challenges being autistic presents to my employment. But this is the first job where I’m fully resolved to let my employers make the call of when the challenges outweigh the benefits of having me as an employee. So far, the benefits seem to be winning out, but I am always prepared for the balance to switch. This may seem morbid to some, but to me it’s a way of holding expectations lightly and being grateful for what I have while I have it.
My personal life has been far more ambiguous. I moved into a new house in January for a short-term sublet, and then had to move again in May (I signed the lease in March, and managed to delay my move-in). I’m currently now in another shared housing situation and this one is quite good, but I’m really getting tired of moving around so much, so hoping that I can get into RGI housing soon. So far, the living situation I’m in now is working as well as can be expected.
I did actually go out on a few dates with someone this year, which is really the first time I’ve actually done that. It’s a fairly small progress, given that I’m 29, but it’s at least a baby step in the right direction.
A lot of my usual physical and emotional outlets have been taken away as a result of the pandemic. My Tai Chi instructor’s studio was shut-down, so my Tai Chi practice has been mostly solo since then–and I don’t really have an indoor space that works for virtual classes from the studio we had some ties to. Drinking in pubs with friends was mostly out, as was meeting inside for coffees, and dancing in clubs was certainly not an option. My church community went largely virtual as well, and in-person worship is a lot less compelling. Many of my friends who I’d traditionally chat with are in regions with higher COVID numbers so keeping up with them has been difficult. And swimming pools had so many caveats that I haven’t been swimming in ages.
That all said, I have been more conscientious about working out at home when I can, and am making an effort to get outdoor walks in. In the spring, summer, and fall, I also got a lot of outdoor Tai Chi practice in.
My physical health is thus really mixed right now. My blood sugars are much higher than they should be again, and my endurance is lower than I’d like, but my overall physical feeling is actually still quite good. I also haven’t noticed a huge rise in anxiety/depression–I’m certainly under stress, but I was already so lonely before the pandemic began that the increase in loneliness from the pandemic has been negligible.
The past year has certainly looked different from other years with a lot of significant markers reached, but the coming year looks to be largely the same pattern while the pandemic drags on. There may be opportunity for more creative and dynamic patterns to emerge in the summer, but until then, the end of the calendar year doesn’t feel hugely transitional this go-round.
Peace and blessings and love to all in the year to come.