A few minutes ago I was responding to some emails from a few people who have contacted us when I noticed my signature line. It contains a quote that has been there for years, but I have somewhat overlooked just knowing it is there. I put it on my signature line back in 2007 while I was working on my graduate program and really struggling. I was working on a paper and having a heck of a time getting things put together and in the meantime, I was starting to doubt whether or not this program would really be worth all the effort I was putting in. A few weeks earlier, to make matters more difficult, I had also just recently gone through a difficult personal situation and felt that maybe the cards were just not in my favor; at that moment, I thought about giving up, quitting school and just saying I’m done.
In the background I had the NFL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on the television and I heard Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin say in his speech the following;
“Look up, get up and don't ever give up."
Knowing the story of Michael Irvin, his personal demons and struggles with drugs and the law, I could hear the sincerity of those words as he spoke. In a way, it made me realize that what I was going through was minimal in comparison to the struggles of so many in our little world. I realized I was probably just feeling sorry for myself and I needed to take the advice and “Look up, get up and don't ever give up."
We come to today. I guess the last year or so has changed the meaning to this a bit for me. In many ways I think this quote fits our community, the autism community to a “t”. If you think of all the challenges that those on the spectrum have in their daily lives, giving up may seem to be an easier alternative to meeting those struggles head on. Especially going into adulthood, saying “the heck with it” and throwing their hands up, may be something that goes through the mind quite easily.
But we move on; we continue to push forward and live our lives facing our struggles head on and do our best to persevere as best we can. The meaning of the words has become more meaningful to me knowing how difficult the diagnosis of autism can be, changing the outcome we had previously believed we had and how our lives are going to change as a result of autism. However, the best we can do is keep remembering to “Look up, get up and don't ever give up."
If you would like to view his words as he said them, the first speaker is Mr. Irvin.