Asperger’s & designing a life that fits around who I am

Amelie Niklas Ohlrogge

One of the main reasons I focus so much on designing a life that works for me is because I’m autistic.

I can’t lead a normal life. It just doesn’t work for me. And nor do I want it.

Although some people like the enforced routine and structure, I drain my energy and burn out extra quickly when I’m working full-time for someone else in environments I can’t control. The negatives outweigh the positives.

I want space and time and energy for creating beautiful things and putting them out into the world, not building someone else’s business in industries that aren’t truly aligned with who I am.

I want the freedom to hike for ten days in Greenland, coorie away in my home for a while, or get a train to China. I want to set my own schedule and work and play around my energy, mood, and cycles.

I want to slow down and just be, no matter how lazy that seems to others.

I want to live my life, my way, as my weirdly wonderful autistic self.

If you’ve read Mountain Song, my book about my three years living quietly by the mountains, you’ll know a bit about my journey. After some rough years, I moved to Switzerland to live a more unconventional life, quit my job to start my own company, and realised that being the odd one out is just fine by me.

Even if it meant sacrificing security and certainty, I didn’t want to play by the rules or settle for a life I don’t want because it’s what I should have.

To sum up my Live Wildly philosophy in one sentence, it’s this: define what you want and with a kind and gentle heart, let go of everything else that doesn’t matter to you or brings you down.

It’s both incredibly simple and easier said than done. But it can be done. Especially if you’re someone who by nature does things differently.

No matter what you want to call it, people with Asperger’s, high-functioning autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) do things differently. And in this world, that is refreshingly glorious.

Imagine all the beautiful books, businesses, art, music, buildings, wild spaces, connections, and communities we can create and nurture if we were to live our way. If we balanced the different areas of our life, optimising each one with care, love, and respect for our uniqueness; from our mind to our body, creativity, community, work, play, and spirit.

Think of how fulfilled and honest our lives will be if we redefine the way we do things and what’s possible. If we live by our energy and respect our highs and lows, recognising the season of life we are in and giving our body, mind, and spirit what we most need in each one: rest and comfort in winter, before energy and projects and movement in spring.

It might mean an office job that gives you the structure you need to bring out your gifts in other areas. It might mean creating a business that you control and set the pace for. It might mean a part-time job that doesn’t make you burn out every few months.

Designing a life looks different for everyone, autistic or neurotypical. But the commonality is slowing down to consciously engineer a life that works for you, just you.

How much freedom could you create for yourself if you design your life around your strengths, values, and gifts?

What can life look like if you design it around who you actually are?

It can look pretty dang incredible.

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Lucy Fuggle
I'm Lucy – an adventurer, writer, author of Mountain Song: A Journey to Finding Quiet in the Swiss Alps, and creator of Live Wildly.