• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Steve Thorn
  • r ranson
master gardeners:
  • John F Dean
  • Carla Burke
  • Nancy Reading
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Mike Barkley
  • Liv Smith

Aspies (and non aspies!) what are your "intensely focused interests"?

 
steward
Posts: 17964
Location: Pacific Northwest
8411
7
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A while back I found a thread on Wrong Planet about female aspies "interests/obsessions" https://wrongplanet.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=218588. It was an eye-opening thread for me, because I'd never throught of my interests as fitting the bill of "intensely focused interests" many with autism/aspergers (aka "aspies") have.

It was interesting to see that many of the female aspies had both life-long interests, as well as short-bursts of focused interest in something (a few hours).

My husband, another likely-aspie, has medium-length focused interests, for example he'll spend months or a few years learning everything he can about bonsai, and then drop that interest and learn about fish, then learn about firearms, then about classic cars, then Hot Wheels.

He also goes about his interests differently than I do. He tends to want to "collect them all!" of whatever he's interested in (get all the hot wheels, raise all the different types of fish, etc), whereas I tend to mostly research (learn all I can about a random criminal case or permaculture) or just use my interests to do things (grow food, knit stuff). I don't master a subject like he does, I just use the interests. We're different! I wonder if you are, too!

So,
  • What are your interests? How many do you have?
  • How long do they last?
  • How are you interested in your interest: research, collecting all you can, mastering the subject, or just enjoying and using the focus to do things?


  • I'm going to see if I can make an apple poll about this. too...it might not work out too well though. We'll see! One apple/vote per item, but you can vote on as many as you like. If you need an apple to vote, just ask!

    The stuff in caps is stuff one might be interested in. I'm making them broad so the list isn't ginormous, but I can definitely add more to the list!


     
    Nicole Alderman
    steward
    Posts: 17964
    Location: Pacific Northwest
    8411
    7
    hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I'll start!

    What are your interests? How many do you have? How long do they last?
    Hard to tell how many. Here's my long-term interests that have lasted for 10+ years:
  • knitting/embroidery/fibre arts
  • drawing
  • fantasy
  • environmental issues
  • being prepared
  • religion & evolution, politics of religion


  • I generally am either interested in something for life, and return to it when I have time (like painting), or have short bursts that are akin to scratching an itch. I spend a few hours reading all I can:

  • The Turpin family abuse, where the parents held their 13 children captive, abused, and starved them
  • Random other criminal cases or news stories
  • Reading about a famous/historical person, or a TV show. I'll spend an hour or two reading the wiki and some articles, and then be done.


  • Then there's things where I spend as long as it takes to finish it, like reading a fantasy series, or playing a video game. I don't have much time for either these days, though!


    How are you interested in your interest: research, collecting all you can, mastering the subject, or just enjoying and using the focus to do things?
    I mostly research, or use my interests to do useful things, like knit my kids mittens or grow food, or make gifts for people. I can't justify spending time on these things otherwise.

    Whenever I'm actively engaged in what I'm interested in, the rest of the world fades away. I'm all about finishing the book, or making a dragon, or paiting a picture, or weeding a garden bed. I have a hard time multitasking, and tend to ignore my own needs until the thing is done. I used to always lose weight before the holidays because I didn't want to stop my gift-making to eat. Now I have to really reign myself in or avoid doing things I love, so I don't ignore my own kids and taking care of the house, or end up constantly feeling frustrated because I can't just focus on one thing and finish it!
     
    gardener
    Posts: 3072
    Location: Central Texas zone 8a
    772
    2
    cattle chicken bee sheep
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I tend to half finish big stuff cause im off to the next project. Its often within the same hobby. Like tearing the next car down before the first one is finished. Or buying a new project when theres already 2 ahead of it. I'm weaning myself off project cars.

    But i can take smaller stuff and finish it. Like making a knife, adding a paddock, canning my squash, etc

    I REALLY like permaculture from an earthworks perspective, cause its a year to year thing.  Nothing that has to be done NOW, although there are seasonal voids that provide optimal conditions.

    Lastly, i do jump around with new hobbies. I cant say its an aspie thing though. Its more about learning a lot of different things (canning, forging, winemaking, sausagemaking, beekeeping, tanning hides). Many become seasonal hobbies and are done each year. Others i learn the basics and move on. I'll be the goto guy when the zombies come. Lol
     
    Posts: 664
    Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
    2
    transportation hugelkultur cat forest garden fish trees urban chicken cooking woodworking homestead
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Usually have several things that slowly simmer away for years. Some get finished, some continue to linger with the anticipation of completion.

    Problem is I’m a bit of a perfectionist and they never seem to be good enough, technology changes, etc.

    Am trying, REALLY trying, to simply finish things accepting that contemporary ‘technology’ ,or other things, should suffice = good enough is nearly always good enough (Maximiser versus Satisficer).

    It’s too easy to get ‘Choice Overload’, procrastinate, and have a house and yard full of half-finished things that simply sit there as a reminder, like an unreachable itch!

    I feel another failed New Year’s resolution coming!
     
    Posts: 542
    Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
    159
    trees bike greening the desert
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    First off, I'm not diagnosed as being on the "spectrum".  Never been to anyone that could give a diagnosis, and probably never will.....until they forcefully commit me anyway.  :)

    First obsession as a kid, guns.  Living in Silicon Valley, and having parents that were not into "doing things" with me kind of kept them more as a fantasy to dream about.  I went to the library constantly, and checked out The Gun Bible, and every hunting/gun related book they had (I checked the same ones out over and over and over..... for years).  Also got trapping books, and tracking books........never really got to apply most of what I read about, but it was an obsession up to my late teens.  I did eventually get some rifles, but they sit collecting dust, and I have no desire to go out anymore (Ironically I now live in trophy mule deer country).

    Transitioned/overlapped from the guns (mainly because it wasn't something I could physically have), and got into bass fishing.  I was nuts for every bass fishing show, every library book, every magazine, everything bass fishing.....the catalogs of fishing lures were like porn to me.  I spent my teenage years going to local lakes and ponds fishing.  While all of the other kids at school were hanging out, or wanting to date......I was obsessed with bass fishing.  Always alone, and actually never really that good at it.  I don't really go fishing but once in a great while nowadays.

    The holy grail of interests for me overlapping the other two I just mentioned, and still going strong today is mountain biking.  I started around twelve years old, and loved tearing my bike apart, getting accessories, reading everything the library had about cycling.  It was something I could do alone, got me out into the hills/nature.  It also got me in really good shape.  I was a fat, very dorky looking kid, and mountain biking transformed me in several years into a much leaner less dorky looking person.  Well, leaner for sure.......  Just bought a fully rigid (yeah, I'm hardcore and love simplicity) Kona Unit a month ago.  I can ride it better than a lot of people on plush fully suspended bikes out here in the mars like/rocky landscape of southern Utah........oh yeah, I moved to southern Utah just so I could mountain bike.  No other reason than that............it's heaven here.......world class trails within a few miles of my front door!

    Oh yeah.  Jeeps.  My first car was a 1977 CJ5, it still sits in my garage today.  I just sold a 1950 CJ3A, my daily driver today is a 1980 CJ5, and I've owned about a dozen different Willys trucks and wagons.  I'm mainly interested in their simplicity, not so much as off road vehicles.  People seem confused why I like them, if I don't off road them.  I tell them it's because that one of their car doors has more moving parts in it than my entire vehicle has.....not to mention my car has no doors.  I also let them know I probably have off roaded more than most any jeeper ever has!  (On my bike of course).
    Civilian Jeeps were originally manufactured as the "poor man's tractor" that could be a grocery getter as well.  I like that about them.

    So really those were my only real interests or hobbies for my whole life.  Of course now I'm into organic gardening and I hope for it to be a lifelong hobby/lifestyle but I've only been going at it for around four years now, and I certainly don't study up on it as much as the other things when I was younger.  It's also very off/on for me (probably because of the seasons).  Sometimes I just have no interest in it whatsoever.
    I dabble in welding, building stuff, and have done some canning, but those are more out of need than a true interest.

    It's kind of embarrassing because I don't really have much interest in "learning" new things, reading books, travel, or people in general (never had any interest in people, actually).  Just a simple mind, doing simple things, as simple as I can make them.  If I'm aspie, I'm one of the dumb ones!  lol



     
    steward & bricolagier
    Posts: 8696
    Location: SW Missouri
    4318
    2
    goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I voted! I have lots and lots of thoughts and projects that wrestle with each other for domination in my brain. Very few last long, the next ones are always pushing them out of the way.

    I have a lot of hand skills, organization skills, and business skills, and hope at some point to make my living using my always new project pushing brain to make a living by talking to a person, figure out their skills and interests, help them figure out what they'd like to do that could be monetized, then teaching them how to do it most effectively, take a small payment when they make X amount of money off it, and I go on the next person and am always interested long enough to help them. Turn my weird brain into a more useful asset than it often is, as I leave behind piles of interesting projects in various stages of completion.
     
    gardener
    Posts: 526
    Location: Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
    171
    hugelkultur forest garden foraging tiny house wood heat
    • Likes 4
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Years ago, I was doing some chores and had the CBC playing. A woman was being interviewed and was telling her story about always feeling "different". She went through a list of quirks, habits and socially awkward experiences, and all the while I was thinking "Hey, I do that". As the list of shared traits grew I got more interested, and eventually she revealed that she had finally, as an adult, been diagnosed with Asperger's. That was the first time that I'd ever considered myself in that category. I've since done several online questionnaires that all plant me firmly in the "Most Likely, You're on the Spectrum" category.

    I get excitedly focused on new topics all the time but can only attend to one at a time. I study it until I've exhausted all the novelty out of it, then move on. If I'm momentarily "in between obsessions" I get depressed and feel lost. This rarely lasts long because there are always exciting new rabbit holes to go down.

    When I'm preparing to undertake a project, I research and plan it to death and then plunge in. Once I've gotten to the point of having enough of it completed that the end product is easily imagined and success is likely, I lose interest and want to move on to the next one. It's as though the project is already complete in my head and the physical expression of it is unnecessary.
     
    Pearl Sutton
    steward & bricolagier
    Posts: 8696
    Location: SW Missouri
    4318
    2
    goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Michael Helmersson wrote:

    I get excitedly focused on new topics all the time but can only attend to one at a time. I study it until I've exhausted all the novelty out of it, then move on. If I'm momentarily "in between obsessions" I get depressed and feel lost. This rarely lasts long because there are always exciting new rabbit holes to go down.

    When I'm preparing to undertake a project, I research and plan it to death and then plunge in. Once I've gotten to the point of having enough of it completed that the end product is easily imagined and success is likely, I lose interest and want to move on to the next one. It's as though the project is already complete in my head and the physical expression of it is unnecessary.



    Exactly!! Better words than I came up with!
    :D
     
    pioneer
    Posts: 210
    Location: So Cal - Inland Empire
    45
    foraging rabbit books fiber arts medical herbs homestead
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Now THIS is how my mind works too! Wondering about how other people tick, how it compares to how I view myself and those nearest to me, how it all relates to various times, people and issues from my past that I am forever pulling back out to REview with some new lens I've discovered.....  

    I have a number of high-functioning "spectrum" grandchildren, and have turned the microscope back on myself to see if it's also a part of my self.... There are still so many questions that I may never get answers to about my earliest years...

    Since I was very young I've been interested in bugs and growing things; nasturtiums, violas, night blooming jasmine are all memories of Grama. I've almost always been a reader for pleasure, with fond memories of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory series, Charlotte's Web, and early Anne McCaffrey works. I still REread most of Anne's series that I've read already at least 3 times each! It's like rewatching your favorite movie(s) again and again. I like to collect and keep the books I've read and loved. I have quite a library.  And I've long been a rock hound of sorts, many memories of going out on rock treks with Mom and my brother, rock hammer and canvas bag in hand! Or just picking up the pretty pebbles on a walk. When my son was young we found a very solid rock for him to hammer when he got mad. I still have that rock about 25 years and 5 moves later.

    My grandfather planted the seeds of nutrition and plants as medicine when I was probably 8 from the blender mix of some nearly undrinkable concoction he promised would make my body happy.  I found a booklet he wrote and got published about nutrition issues according to his research.  He is also where the bugs come from as he had many scorpions, tarantula's and other bugs encased in clear epoxy.

    In my teens I became interested in making my own formula of an all purpose healing ointment from my own research using just one of the Jeanne Rose herbal books! I still make it in gallon batches to this day, and taught my mom the method and recipe. I'm just about out of the last batch we made together in the year she passed. This has grown into growing some of my own ingredients and using them in other ways as well. I have continued to expand my knowledge in the nutrition and medicine arenas over the years, though never taken any formal training in the field.

    A now ex- mother-in-law taught me how to crochet decades ago. And I took a single semester of home-economics sewing in Jr. High School and I'm still sewing though mostly quilts now rather than clothing items from when the kids were still young. I have been expanding my skills in both of these creative endeavors on a much slower pace than the alternative medicine. And recently I've taught myself how to make my own twining looms and how to make the heavy duty fabric that results from this method. Most of the perhaps dozen pieces I've now made in the last 2 years or so have remained flat but a couple have been folded in half and made into a bag of sorts. I've been on a real tear since just before my son left the state with the sewing, crocheting, and rug-making, most of it using strips of cloth!

    And something else I've noticed about myself that perhaps is common (or not), I can't seem to move on to either finish something I've started if it's taking a really long time to complete (usually the size of the project is greater than my estimated attention span for said project) when I have another "project" in mind. I get that sort of blockage in alot of things. The worst part is that I know this is the major contributor to all the clutter I have going on. For cryin out loud, I am still midway in one crochet project that I intended to be a "blanket" that would overhang a king sized bed. I have a queen, have always had a queen; so why a king? No clue. I started that project in the early 1990's!!!

    I currently have and am working the following: Crochet - a tablecloth in the round to fit my big dining table using a steel hook so my yarn is more a thread (on hold but available, it now takes about an hour to go around just once); a cape sort of covering to wear in a slightly larger yarn; and a 2nd bag large enough to be almost a laundry bag in an 8/4 cotton warp thread, steel hook again! Sewing - a new quilt for a tall grandson using a 60 degree diamond piecing that will all lay in the same direction but I'm stumped on how to put the pieces together correctly and so while it is still out and available to work, I've not gotten any further really than the cutting. Twining Loom - my medium loom is warped and I'm nearly done making a pink themed piece for a granddaughter who loves pink.

    Most recently, and for the past almost 2 years, I'm researching and creating notebooks of gleaned information on what I think my near future life will be on close to 40 acres in West Virginia. How to build animal shelters, how to care for the planned animals (meat and fiber goats and rabbits, mini belted cows, and maybe a fish system)... what they can eat from things we could grow for them and us... building the enclosures we will need from resources at hand, hügelkultur beds with the rotting lumber just laying all over, using plant guilds and what would be used in those many guilds, medicinals to grow on the property and how to use them...

    All this while also doing all the other stuff in my normal days... going to my paying job, cooking and cleaning at home, and my little garden in raised beds.


    Interesting tidbit: The Turpins lived only about 30 minutes from me in a neighboring city. And I see they have a Wikipedia page!

    Tag! You're it!

     
    software bot
    Posts: 225957
    1546
    cooking pig
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Last vote in apple poll was on May 25, 2021
    gift
     
    6 Ways To Keep Chickens - pdf download
    will be released to subscribers in: soon!
    reply
      Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic