“Be moderate in everything, including moderation’ Horace Porter.
If you are going to do something – then do it to death! Very ‘Gung-Ho’ isn’t it? It is in fact a modification on the philosophy of ‘If you are going to do something, then do it right”. When l am in full Aspie mode then l run with the former and when the Neuro me is present l run with the latter – fact is – irrelevant to which side is operating the end result is ‘Just DO IT!’
Admittedly l have got a lot better at this moderation thing over the last four years or so, or in simpler terms, since being with my current partner. A bachelor Aspie and moderation never walk hand in hand!
I was much worse when l was younger as l seriously struggled with self-control of any kind in anything from people to relationships, although some might suggest with the latter that it was ‘prone to obsession’ rather than a lack of restraint. And yet a lack of restraint is excellent considering some of my quirkier behaviours!
What’s the point to doing anything if you don’t throw yourself into it? No artsy fartsy attempts with me, its instant gratification leading to full on satisfaction or nothing, nada or zilch! I prefer to class it as a ’dedicated commitment’
I love to say ‘quirky does what quirky Is so much l put the slogan on a Tote Bag equally as much as ‘quirksome not irksome’ and l feel sure that most of my fellow autists will agree that we each have our own unique set of idiosyncrasies. I feel that the inability to moderate for me may not be the same for the next Autist down the line. Of course it may be, but it might not be, y’all will have to tell me l guess.
So, one of my ‘habits’ is to NOT do things half-heartedly , l have to do it to the extreme because in many ways it is black and white that way, to do it any other way would leave way too much grey in the equation.
But the problem with that way of thinking is that not everyone understands it and l know from previous experience that sometimes it confounds the NT. I apply this lack of moderation skill to almost everything l do, like some add salt to every dish. It is a way of being thorough or perhaps over thorough?
I have in the past, had very little control on my eating habits – l am not over weight, but the concept of having ‘a couple of chocolates from the tin’ seems as alien to me as autism is to others! Equally, ‘leaving biscuits in the packet’ seems kind of strange? You get the gist of where l am going with this. The downside to not constraining your desires is of course that you could make yourself ill.
I remember with crystal clarity one evening in a restaurant taking up the challenge of eat all you can eat dessert for x amount, as much as l recall the exciting dry cream cracker exercise, or even proving the point of eating raw chillies!! I must point out that these expeditions into stupidity were carried out a good many years ago when l was a younger man and had the body to support it! Drink till you fall under the table strategies are good if you had like me hollow legs, but now half a glass of red wine and l am under the damn table in less than ten minutes!
I had and to a certain degree still do a problem with certain social ‘friendships’ notably l don’t really get it, well l do in theory, but in practical application it is way different! If we are friends should we not talk? If we don’t talk, then why are we friends? Why are you so angry that l don’t want you as a friend anymore when we don’t talk and as such we have nothing in common?
I am not a party animal, l prefer animals more than l do people – and it is NOT that l don’t like people, it’s just that l don’t always get them. They keep moving the goalposts apart for starters and that really Fricks me off! NT’s should learn moderation as an example with their so called ‘what’s acceptable in society versus NOT.
In my younger years, l would basically unfriend people, and then become confused when they were upset?? My answer of “FFS why were you not talking to me, to let me know we were still friends?” was apparently that l didn’t exercise any moderation? I am none too sure about that, so l play the much safer game these days of having fewer friends!
I think mostly ‘moderation’ as a term is better affixed to the likes of my ‘special interests’ – for in simple terms l know no moderation there. If in hyper focus mode on a new topic or subject then …well l am gone, spaced out if you wish! Nothing else exists – it is the IN THING – to the exclusion of everything else up to and including living life! I devour it, my appetite for new information, policies, procedures or administrations is almost insatiable and l simply become even more ravenous for facts!
The old phrase from Dr. Asperger himself ‘little professor’ syndrome comes into play, l become clueless to everything else around me whilst l pursue the interest. I will read faster than normal, my absorption for information increases almost tenfold, my memory expands and the list goes on. But, moderation or self-control flies out of the window!
When l was working for other employers l would offer them the same service, all the hours under the sun for one pay, l was like a robot and my candle did have two ends. I would be criticised for not moderating my enthusiasm, but would always defend it by saying l was passionate about what l was doing and as such it never seemed like l was overworking or being under paid. I am lucky l have always worked in environments that l have thoroughly enjoyed and l know that not everyone can say that.
Whatever l have tried in my life l have always done to the extreme, smoking, drinking, eating sweets, work, sex, hobbies, special interests, smoking weed, political interests or whatever else l have turned my hands to.
As l have got older, it would be great to say that l have become way better than l was and to a certain degree this is true – but ask my partner and she will tell you that l have still a long way to go before l find true balance.
However enough about me, what about you, what do you struggle with moderation wise?
Rory Matier – The Tee Shirt Blogger
Ps: These posts are my views on my autism/Asperger’s, they may not be everyone else’s who is on the spectrum.