Previous me would have loved going to a Red Sox event…

On Saturday there was an open house at Fenway Park to celebrate the new baseball season. It featured autograph signings by former Red Sox players, photo ops, mascots, and a chance to run/walk around the bases on the field.

This is the type of event that previous me would have been all over. I would have set my alarm, walked to the train station, and taken the Orange Line and then the Green Line to get to the ballpark. I would have jumped at the chance to add to my autograph collection, take a selfie, and post the fun pictures on social media.

I didn’t go to the Red Sox event.

Current me is very different from previous me.

Due to the way that the city of Boston and its sports teams handled the statue genocide – by failing to speak out against it and in some ways by actively supporting it – I’m not the enthusiastic Red Sox (or Bruins or Celtics, for that matter) fan that I once was.

My job situation and daily routine are also completely different. I work in the evenings and therefore tend to go to bed late and get up late. I don’t have to set an alarm for work, as I did for my 9-5 job, so I avoid doing so at all to the maximum extent possible.

Additionally, as a single adult, I do unfortunately feel awkward asking famous athletes for photos and autographs. I think it’s wrong that our society considers these types of things to be “for kids,” because I believe that all people should be treated equally regardless of age, but unfortunately it does. I am now too old to pass for a teenager, and I feel that I will be perceived as weirder and weirder the older I get.

But most of all, I have found over the past four years that I gain the most happiness from focusing on my inner world and not focusing on the outer one as much. The activities that I gravitate towards consist of drawing, writing, spending time with my statues, and organizing my toy soldiers and dolls. I am not as strongly drawn to activities such as following sports, walking around Boston, photographing the city, and attending events.

Our society has this idea that withdrawing from the outside world is somehow unhealthy, or even a “symptom” of depression. But I have found that this is the healthiest way for me to live. I wish more than anything that the terrible events of the past four years didn’t happen, but they did. Given this reality, it makes me happier to focus on the historical figures that I love, and the imaginary world in which they reside, rather than on the society that has hurt and rejected me. And I have read that doing fewer activities is exactly what helps with recovering from autistic burnout, something that I’ve been struggling with for many years.

So for now, I am making a deliberate decision to live a slower-paced life with more free time. I am going to do the things that I feel like doing, rather than pushing myself to get up before my body naturally wants to in order to attend events that I don’t have the energy for. I am going to do activities that bring me joy, rather than ones that are filled with reminders of the trauma that I’ve experienced. (Of course, some activities have the potential for both these things, which can make the decision about whether to do them or not difficult, but I will deal with those as they come up.)