Taking questions from Andrea

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I asked Facebook for some blogging ideas, and you didn’t disappoint!  I got some great suggestions, and plan on answering your questions in as timely a manner as I can.

I’m going to take them a little out of order, and answer Andrea Birmingham’s questions first.

Is the grass actually greener on the other side; what happens if you get there and discover no? 

In my experience, the grass is greener where you water it.  Beth and I packed up our little existence in southern Maine for East Millinocket over ten years ago because it’s what we thought was best for Jake.  In doing so, we gave up proximity to the best therapists and treatments.  We gave up a lot of our big city friends.  We gave up having a Target closer than an hour’s drive.

We gained community.  We gained a sense of belonging, and started to figure out our part of the whole.  We got involved at school and at work.  We know our neighbors, and they know us.  There’s still a small part of us that longs for the newness and excitement of the Portland area, but it feels really wonderful to send your kids to a school where everybody knows their names, and to know that if I break down on the side of the road, a friendly face will stop and offer me a ride home.

Had we not invested ourselves in our town, we’d probably be miserable thinking about “the other side of the fence.”  Instead, we watered our own grass – and it’s quite green.

Should Bud Light be considered beer or flavored water?

Flavored water; no question.

Are adults allowed to love and play Minecraft?

I like to know what my kids are into, and try really hard to get excited about what excites them.  I try to keep my Mario skills up to par so that I can play and compete with Jake.  I follow the same YouTube channels as Olivia, and my sewing machine skills are probably a little better than hers.  Don’t tell her I said that, but you should see my receiving blankets – no slouch job!  Gabe is passionately into Minecraft.  He has the app on both his iPad and the house PC.  I’ve tried, God knows I’ve tried, but I just find it so stupid.  That being said, adults are allowed to love and play Minecraft, but this one just doesn’t.  Sorry.

What is the best way to quiet the mind and stay sane when leading such a busy life, when so many people demand so much of your time?

This is an excellent question, and one that I’ve struggled with over the years.  I work a couple of jobs (accounting for 6-7 days per week), am an Informational Specialist for the Autism Society of Maine, have three kids whom I try to invest in and stay current with, a wife of nearly 15 years who deserves the best of me, and I’m on two school boards – all while trying to create fresh content for a silly web log.

I often feel like a plate spinner with too may plates in the air.  It’s often hard to keep them all spinning.  The crappy part is that it’s the most important ones that often get closest to falling.  I have to keep up the job plates, or else we’ll starve.  I have to keep up the boards, because people are counting on me.  I try wicked hard to keep up the kid plates, because they’re only young once, and I don’t want any Cats In The Cradle moments later in life.  Beth usually takes the brunt because even if her plate crashes to the floor, she knows I’ll eventually pick it back up and get it spinning again.  It’s not fair, but it’s reality.  We’ve talked about it, and she’d actually prefer it to be her plate that falls before the kids’.

So the answer is to find joy in the things you do.  Remember why you have these demands in the first place.  I only work for the ASM and the school board to make sure that I’m doing the best job that I can for Jake and kids like him.  The more knowledge I gain in the autism world, the better.  I help create school policy, which helps protect all kids, but especially those who cannot speak for themselves.  The less you see those demands on your time as a burden, and the more you see them as opportunity to better yourself or a loved one, the less stressful they become.

My jobs are a financial necessity, but I love what I do.  I get to help bring people from their worst days back to independence.  That’s an honor, and I love it.

Also, I listen to a lot of audio books.  I don’t have as much time to read physical books as I’d like, so I listen to audiobooks I’ve downloaded to my phone when driving to/from work or Bangor, or when I’m walking the dogs or mowing the lawn.  I get up early to work out as much as possible.  I love lifting heavy things, and this centers me.  The flip side of that coin is that it means I’m not there in the morning to share toast with the kids and make sure their bags are packed and they’re ready for school, so I’ve been lifting while they’re in dance.

Looking back over my rambling response, I guess the moral of the story is this: if you can’t always do what you love, you can usually love what you do.

If anyone ever has any questions you’d like answered here, please email me at rmwmpt@gmail.com, and I’ll do my best.

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