This post is in the Executive function category

Dear Reader

I don’t seem to be very good at planning, in fact I don’t even seem to want to plan.  This is something of a paradox, for someone who craves stability and minimal stress.  I just don’t seem very good at creating situations where I don’t have to “wing it”.   I know that I tend to live in the present, the moment, the page, the sentence, the word, the phrase, the note, the sound. I have a history of overspending on something I perceive an immediate requirement for and then having no money on hand for essentials.  Thank God I am not attracted to gambling and don’t drink.  Bahá’í laws help keep me in check here too. I know that there is a part of autism that focusses on the detail instead of the whole, and another that reduces the ability to predict outcomes.

Both of these are in the Executive Function area somewhere. Well knowing is one thing, using the knowledge is another. The ideal would be that knowing I’ve got issues here would encourage me to learn how to do it better, but I don’t seem to conforming to that particular ideal … I wonder if this lack of planning is a stress / conflict avoidance?  Maybe I don’t plan because making choices is stressful in the moment and provokes anxiety about whether the decision is the right one.  If I have not planned, the circumstances are more likely to dictate the choices, which is also stressful but I am somehow less responsible, and I can’t predict it so I can’t worry about it.  Often the result of not planning is not being able to do something different, so I /we do the same as we always do eg. stay home for the holidays.  There is a kind of twisted logic here which is both comfortable and ridiculous.  It is OK when I’m the only person affected but it screws up family and other situations.  Strangely our other Aspie family member seems to make really strong choices about what he wants to happen or not happen to suit his personal comfort and to apply strategic behaviours to make it happen.  On the other hand, most of his plans are about preserving the status quo against outside interference.

The planning business doesn’t help my music practice or my teaching or my dissertation writing. Actually I think the music itself doesn’t suffer, the moment is king in the music, but the process of making music gets hairy when the plan or lack thereof affects someone else. Deadlines in the music process are fine if they are really close – they motivate at that point, but distant ones in a big project do much for me. If I impose my own deadlines they always seem so arbitrary and badly positioned. And I guess I know that I put them there so I can move them.

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