Here & Now

I have woken up today in confusion and disbelief : I have had to turn my kitchen calendar over again and now it is the first of July!! What happened to June? It was a blink ago that we were saying , cannot believe that we are in the halfway point of the year and now June has passed us by, we enjoyed the solstice and now nights will be drawing in. What is happening to time? It is going too fast, we are at Friday again and that is another week under our belts. Another week when we have not decorated the cats room, we have not taken our new caravan away still and in a month’s time we will be heading away on our summer holidays.

It must be a sign of our old age time speeds up. When you are little, the time drags – I used to count the days between my birthday at the end of September and Christmas. But now it rushes towards me like a steam train and even though I try running away from that train, it pursues me and gathers momentum. The perception of time changes as you age : now I have been alive for 669 months, so one month is 0.15% of my total life so far, which is a tiny proportion. When I was 6 years old, one month was 1.4% of my total life , so that would take much longer to pass. So I imagine, by that same measure, when I am 85 years old, time will fly by so much faster than now even.

At 21, time should not fly by too quickly for Joshua yet – one month is just 0.4% of his life so far. But I am not sure how Joshua perceives time anyway, probably not in the same way that you or I do. Small children, and some excitable adults too, count future time in terms of the number of ‘sleeps’ to go. Joshua has never appreciated the number of sleeps or any forward planning really. He needs to know, when he wakes up, what he is doing this morning – he could not even cope with knowing what might befall him in the afternoon or evening of that same day. If he is told that something is happening, then he looks around for it now. It is quite a helpful outlook, as he does not use lots of energy looking forward to something or being disappointed when something is cancelled. If we are doing something that same morning, then it is less likely to be cancelled if he only learns about it an hour or so before. In this way, Joshua does not show any autistic traits as someone with autism would need much more notice and preparation for an event. But even then seizures can sneak into that short window while he is getting dressed for instance, and spoil everyone’s plans.

This morning for instance, when he wakes up I will tell him that he is going in the car to Play and he will repeat ‘Car’ and start to wave goodbye to Bruce Springsteen on the DVD. I will remind him that he needs his breakfast and to get out of his PJs first, but he will still jump out of bed repeating ‘car’. So that is as much notice or information as Joshua can handle at a time. He does not know his days of the week and cannot tell the time , so he relies on being told what is about to happen on the same day. He is deprived of the feeling of looking forward to something for any length of time, but he has that for minutes rather than weeks or even months. He does not know that he is going on a seaside holiday in a month’s time, or that petting ponies are coming next week to daycare, or that he is staying overnight next weekend at his Aunty’s house or that he is coming with me on a Scottish adventure in a couple of weeks…but that does not mean he will enjoy them any the less when he gets there. I try to ensure that he has a full and rich life experience, especially now that he does not have to go to school every weekday. But he is happy to soak up those experiences in the here and now, and I am happy to live my life in that same way. None of us know what is lying in wait for us around the corner ,so let us just live this rollercoaster of life and live for today.

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