This could go several different ways. But me personally? I think we all want to leave behind a legacy or something to be remembered by. My ideal legacy is to be remembered for my contributions to the Autism community. And yes, I know it seems like I am force-feeding you this Autism shit through a feeding tube in a hospital bed, but this is my life and what I know. I know this sounds sexist, but when I have kids of my own—IF I have kids of my own—I want at least one son. Just to get any animosity out of the way, I am NOT sexist; I think that’s typical male mentality. I do not want my last name to die with me. I mean, yes I have sisters, but traditionally when women get married, they take the man’s last name. Allie has told me in the past she wants to keep her last name…probably for the same reason I do. But if I had a daughter, I’d be ok with that, too. Just to clarify and clear my name of any sexist ideas people might get about me. I want to be remembered, not just by Allie, family members, and my kid(s) when I am a dad, but by the Autism community in Baltimore, if not further. I know I have made an impact on the people I interact with on a daily basis—at least, I hope—but maybe I want more. I think making a difference is important. Whether it is a positive or negative impact is going to vary person-to-person. Examples, weird as it sounds, are Hitler and let’s say Abraham Lincoln. Two VERY different people, but they both left their marks on history. Let’s start with Hitler, just to get it out of the way. Just mentioning Hitler’s name in passing is frowned upon no matter where you go. Hell, even people who are just starting to know the difference between “good” and “bad” think negatively of Hitler. Lincoln in the other hand? Saying his name is more often not, seen as a “good” thing. Lincoln freed the slaves; wrote the Gettysburg Address; even his looks are looked on with fondness. The stovetop hat; the beard…more positivity. But going back to me. I want to leave my mark on society and be looked at in a positive light. Now, I know there are some naysayers or folks out there who would probably frown at me for talking and blogging incessantly about Autism and myself. Like, there’s one person out there going, “Oh Tom Whalen is so full of shit! He has no idea how Autism impacts others!” Either way, people will remember my name and what I did. So maybe even a “negative legacy” or “negative impact” in my case might not be so bad after all.
Per usual, feel free to comment and weigh in on this topic. Thanks!