What a difference a year can make!

It has certainly been one heck of a twelve months! While I knew always knew I wanted to live on my own, and I placed applications into different complexes around the area, One July 2018 afternoon, I would receive a phone call that would forever make my life so much more brighter!

When I got the call from the Community Manager,  I was in complete shock that five years and one day after submitting this application, that I would be receiving a phone call. Yes, I did apply somewhere else and was days away before getting too anxious and backing out, but something this time told me to accept the offer and try it out.

So over those next few weeks I would go to the stores and buy what I would need, and would get ready for move-in, which was later than expected because the apartment wasn’t quite ready. In the meantime, I’ve got the electric in my name, ordered cable and Internet, which meant this became a reality. August 3, 2018, I got the keys to my apartment.

Over the next weekend, I would move small things in, and the following week I would move furniture in as help was available. All but my living room couch was able to be put in via the elevator, which My Dad and I had to lift it up three flights of stairs. We also had a degree of difficulty getting it in the door of my apartment, which made me extremely anxious, however with a close friend of the family came to assist, and some of the wrapping removed.

After the furniture was moved in, we set up things the cable company came and did their thing and we were pretty much in business. It took some time to get used to things, like using Tide Pods because I never used them, but neighbors taught me how and I now find them so easy. Also other skills such as routine cleaning were extremely difficult at first, but are gradually getting better. You just have to implement a routine to when you do stuff.

Until the beginning of the summer, while I did get out of my apartment, I struggled with making independent choices. I did make some not so wise choices, and felt the ill-effects of them. I have always called my mother every day. One day I did not and cane home from work and fell asleep. The next thing I know my neighbor is beside my bed seeing if I am ok. Thank goodness I was dressed. From that point forward, I have locked my apartment door each time I have entered my apartment for safety reasons as well as call my mother at least once a day.

Another mistake that could be a tragedy was when I lost my Debit Card. I had went to several stores that day and when I came home I could not find it. Nonetheless, I followed standard procedure and contacted the bank and had a hold on it.

The next morning, I received a knock at the door from a neighbor that said the resident of the house across the street from the apartment building found my debit card on the sidewalk and gave it to my neighbor. By the grace of God I was able to get the hold removed in short order and no fraudulent activity occurred.

One final instance was when I was doing laundry and I left two pairs of my underwear in the dryer. The same kind neighbor told me they were folded and in the table in that laundry room.

As of this writing, improvements have continued to be made, including steps to get healthy and cooking at home, as a result since moving out of my parent’s house, I have lost over 30 pounds as a result. Furthermore I am a much happier person because of the absence of my family dynamic that wasn’t healthy as well as the freedom for independence and individuality, which I have to admit has taken a great deal of time as I went to my first outdoor concert on my own on Sunday. Furthermore, I have begun utilizing public transportation more frequently, which has made more choices of more activities to do.

For individuals on the spectrum, independence is possible with the proper skills, safeguards and knowledge, it can be a struggle at first, but it can help immensely with the confidence and social aspect of an individual in so many ways.