Since autism and neurodiversity have become such “hot topics” in the culture lately, some very interesting wisdom has come to me. One thing is that ever since I moved to the city, when I graduated college essentially, I have spent inordinate amounts of time and energy just trying to exist, transport myself to work and social events and even just BE in public. And that was energy and time that I absolutely COULD have been using for more important things. With compounding interest, the life-energy cost is immense. I will never get it back.
The second thing I know now is that my childhood, spent mostly in a forest, away from people, in nature and always in a small house, has been precisely what allowed me to survive into adulthood being undiagnosed. Without a general “roadmap” of the condition and neurodiversity, the knowledge that I was NOT LIKE everyone else and that it would still BE OK, I was reliant on a continuously calm, quiet environment. In other words, I was never really working without a pretty full energy meter. I couldn’t imagine being an autistic child growing up in a city; I can’t even guess what kind of or how many accommodations I would have needed to get my 3.8 GPA through high school. Growing up simply, in a rural area is a type of privilege.
Thirdly, I know that this knowledge can be used to heal the country. The biggest divide in this country, politically-speaking, is not Democrats vs Republicans… it is urban vs rural. These can tend to overlap, but not entirely. The fact of the matter is that people who live in urban communities need the people who live in and love their rural communities to provide food for their organic produce at the fameras’ markets and meal prep delivery services. And people in rural communities rely on those in urban environments to create systems and economies to pay people enough to afford the locally produced goods and services the rurals wish to provide. One cannot survive without the other.
The truth is, the urban folks have generally fallen in love with money and ideology and entirely forgotten about their obligation to sustain their nearby rural communities. And this is, at least partly, due to the fact that the government has been beholden to corporate interests increasingly over the last 40+ years. It is the obligation of everyone with the capability, to use their funds to vote with their dollars, support the type of capitalism you want to have, if it isn’t the only available choice. Buy local! Buy organic! You don’t have to be the entire change, but you are part of the input that determines winners and losers regardless. Pick wisely.
Beyond that, I believe urban people could benefit by SLOWING DOWN, spending more time in rural areas and talking to rural people. Pretty much everyone knows about the mental health benefits of being outdoors and connecting to nature. All of this is connected. We are all connected. But rural folks want respect for what they contribute and they need funds, not charity, but an economy that supports their lifestyle. Urban folks could learn some things about what is really importantin life from hanging out with the rural folks. Let’s partner up, people. Learn from others who are not like you. It is the easiest path to personal growth there is out there.