168,630 (carpe numerum)

168,630 is the number of words I’ve written so far for this journal.

The number of pages is 683.

I’ve only published about half of them, and some of them will never be published.

Still, that’s a lot! I can’t say I’ve done nothing this year.

When I looked back over what I did at my previous job, more from a statistical view than an emotional one, I realized how much I had done, far more than I would have believed or remembered. That gave me some comfort, some acceptance that my time there had been productive and mostly good.

For example, I averaged more than one substantial extra project each year, above what my job required. I doubt most would know how many hours I put into those, and that’s fine. It does now give me a sense of what I did do, and if I did it before, I can do it again. Perhaps, I can do it in a better way, at a different place, and with more people! Who knows? I am curious.

I suspect many autistic people (or anyone with low self-esteem) do much more than they realize. This is especially true if you grew up in an environment where you never felt like you could be good enough or do enough. Autism likely makes you more vulnerable and sensitive to it, and the most unscrupulous of people will enjoy watching you squirm and get frustrated when they are devaluing you and what you are doing.

It’s easy and tempting to keep focusing on negative self-talk.

But, the proof is in the stats. 168,630 is a lot of words in under a year, and what I did at my last job was more significant than I had recalled. I do tend to be on to the next thing, though occasionally, I have to fall down hard and get back up.

168,630 words are like steps: one at a time, as they keep coming. That’s all I can do. It’s all anyone can do. One step, one word, one thought – one number – at a time. Carpe numerum.

(Carpe numerum: seize the number. It’s my interpretation here of the famous, carpe diem, “seize the day.” Instead of thinking of each day, thinking of a smaller part, a thought, a number, is sometimes all we can do.)

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