For the sake of the title not being too long, I avoided what the real title is: “The Spectrum Vs CONVENTIONAL Life Expectations”. When something has to have the word “conventional” in it, chances are the person or people behind it are generalizing and stereotyping. I am talking about what is expected in our culture regarding what people do or accomplish at a certain age. Here are three examples.
Sex: If you are an Aspie or on the Autistic spectrum in general, it is definitely not assumed that you automatically are unable to have relationships with a partner, let alone have sexual relationships. Many different factors (especially where your brain resides on the spectrum) can determine how difficult or easy it is for people like us to lose our virginity while still young. Regardless, there is no need for social pressure. We already have a movie called The 40 Year Old Virgin and that is more than enough. And just having sex for the sake of having sex (ie prostitution) is just using people and serves no other purpose. Regardless of you being in “the mood” or doing it (see what I did there?) out of pressure.
Driving: Depending on finances and where you live, getting your driver’s license might be easier or harder for others. But one thing I can say for myself even, is that being on the spectrum and having an intimidating driving instructor is a dangerous combination. Just like having a supervisor hover over your shoulder in a retail job, you end up focusing way too much on the pressure and less on your main focus. In this case, all of the loud ranting about being careful on the road will make you even less careful. And if you live in a fairly busy area like me and have two instructors observe you at your actual drivers test, good luck passing. But if you don’t, THAT’S OKAY! The harder areas got a thing called public transportation. And if people around you understood your slow process in getting a license, they should be more than willing to accommodate you. If they don’t, they don’t get it. This is why I can’t stand how Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory is treated by his friends in an episode. They hold an intervention for him because he “MUST learn how to drive”. As usual, I’m on Dr. Cooper’s side.
Independent Living: They say 30 is the new 20. Well I have yet to see proof. The way mainstream society sees it, if you are still living with your parents in your late 20’s, then there is something seriously wrong with you. You are “lazy”, every setback you had was “your fault” and/or you are afraid to move out. I can tell you from my experience that all 3 of those assumptions are 100% false. It’s all based on circumstances at the end of the day. If people aren’t willing to meet you halfway like you do to them, you are the last person to blame. But don’t feel shame. Everyone deserves to progress at their own pace.
So there you have it. At the end of the day, everyone is different. And so are people on the spectrum. Society cannot put a number on milestones in life. They should happen naturally. And even if society shames you for not following this demeaning code, do not give in and make yourself miserable as a result. And if you really want to put your energy in something worth while, find a way to CHANGE the rules of society. Make it more accepting and less mechanical.