I've had a quote stuck in my head for a while now, from a source I never thought I'd find a good quote. It's from the most recent season of Bachelorette. One of the final two guys proposed to the girl, but she turned him down. He didn't take it well and began to storm off. She followed him, saying she didn't want it to end this way, when he stopped her and asked her how she thought it could end well. "Good things don't end," he said, "unless they end badly."
I think that the best way to describe how I feel is to take bittersweet and extend it to the far end of the spectrum, both ways. Devastatelating. Mournjoyful. Terrixcited. All to try and demonstrate the extreme dissonance within my soul as my years of grade school draw to a close.
But why should there be a dissonance? Doesn't everyone love to finally leave school? To get out of that miserable, repetitive existence and finally move on to do what you want to do? We've spoken all our lives about what we'll do when we grow up. After this year, we can stop speaking and start doing. All of this is true for me; it will be a relief to leave the negative aspects of school behind, and I feel ready to start accomplishing things. This is the excited part of my terrixciting feeling - I'm finally ready to say I'm grown up.
But growing up is more than going out and seizing the day. There comes a point where one must accept that things come to an end - that to move on means to leave things behind. This is the difficult, scary part about senior year for me, because it means the end of many good things, and the fading away of others. I pray that the person on the Bachelorette was wrong - that good things can end well.
Many famous physicists and mathematicians have had what is called a "miracle year" where they make their most significant accomplishments. I'm proud to say that I have had three miracle years at high school so far, for I have done things I never thought myself capable of - and they're not things people would expect from a mathematician with Asperger's. The things I have accomplished include: 1) Writing stories and editing for a magazine, 2) Trying out for a school play (and getting in!), 3) Kept myself organized enough to pass all my classes with an A, 4) Survived 10 days in the Dominican Republic, 5) Joined a chorus (and sung solo in front of that chorus (not a public audience, though)), 7) Asked someone to prom, and much more. I could not have done any of these things without the help of very good friends who I am indebted to.
And at the end of this year, I will be leaving them.
They say a friendship never ends, but the truth is that they fade. When I go off to college, our paths will diverge, and we'll see each other less and less often, and soon not at all. It's the natural order of things.
And it terrifies me.
Despite the sadness of the occasion, however, I must say this one thing (and this is the main point of this post): I would not trade my miracle years for Newton's or Einstein's, or anyone else's. In all my intellectual dreams I never once imagined that I would find joy in the things I now find joy in. If it is true that when a mind has been stretched, it can never shrink back to its original state, then I will never see the world in the same light again.
Kids with Asperger's - step outside of your comfort zone. Try to make friends; be willing to conform to social norms, even if they don't make sense; take up some kind of hobby outside of your main interests. I used to want to just be a physicist or a mathematician. I'm still aiming for something like that, but now I'm also an amateur in writing, acting, and music. I have more friends than I thought I could have. Take it from me, I've tried loneliness; it doesn't compare to the immense joy of friendship. (Keep boundaries of course; don't do bad things just to make friends. Those aren't the friends you want.)
You may have noticed that this is post is labeled Part 0. I want, at some point, to go through the many new experiences I've had, giving significant attention to certain ones - if not just to elaborate, I can have the joy of sharing my Aspergian views of the social world. I hope it will also function as a first step in expressing my undying gratitude for the friends who have supported me all these years. Jesus once said that only God is good. John said that God is love. And the love between my friends and me are the best "good things" I've experienced in my short life. I am eternally grateful.