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!
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!
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!
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
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
A.i. is the next step. Nature is demanding that man build it.