“The features of character are carved out of adversity.” Paul Barnett.
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When I think of famous people with Aspergers, Tim Page is one person who comes to mind.
Tim Page is an American writer, editor, Pulitzer Prize winning music critic, producer, and professor.
We can learn much from famous Asperger adults of all walks of life. Here his Tim’s background, career, and some life lessons he can teach us.
Background and Career
Tim grew up in Storrs, CT, where his father was a professor of education at the University of Connecticut. While growing up, Tim studied piano and composition, and founded a rock band, “Dover Beach.”
Tim graduated from Columbia University. By the time he graduated, he was writing for the art magazine, Soho News, and other publications, and hosting a contemporary music program on the college radio station at Columbia.
In 1981, he began an 11 year association with station WNYC-FM, where he hosted a program featuring interviews with composers and musicians, such as Aaron Copeland, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich.
Tim worked for the New York Times as a music writer and culture from 1982 until 1987. In 1987, he became chief music critic for Newsday, then moved on to the Washington Post, eight years later. In 1997, he was awarded the Pulizter Prize (an award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States), for his “lucid and illuminating music criticism.”
Mr. Page worked on projects such as starting a music label (didn’t work out), and introduced many musicians to each other.
In 2006, the magazine, Opera News, chose him as one of the 25 most influential people in the world of opera, not only for his writing, but also for discovering and championing other music critics.
Mr. Page left the Washington Post to become a professor of journalism and music at the University of Southern California.
(Reference cited – (Tim Page’s Wikipedia Page)
Life Lessons from Tim Page
Find (Healthy) Ways to Cope with Adversity
“Laughter, meditation, therapy, Valium, antidepressants, liberal helpings of wine and beer, forgiving children, a congenial work situation that allows me to spend most of my time alone — all these have helped me to carry on.” Tim Page
Life is stressful, especially for a neurodivergent person living in a neurotypical society. Tim found many ways to cope with the stress he often felt. Most of Mr. Page’s coping strategies were healthy. I’d only caution myself and you to be on guard of coping mechanisms that can become addictive (substance use, alcohol use, etc).
Realize the Marriage Is Hard Work, and Commit to Making It Work
Bi-cultural marriages can be hard. Neurological differences between a partner with Aspergers and a partner without can make communication difficult. Tim Page shares that he struggled with maintaining his two marriages, which ended in divorce.
Suggestion: Read some of my articles regarding Aspergers and Marriage, both here and at my Psychology Today Blog (What Everyone Ought To Know About Aspergers and Marriage, and Free Marriage Advice from Asperger Adults)
Be Willing to Work Hard on Relationships (It’s Never Too Late)
I’m afraid I was a remote husband and an even more remote father. I’ve gotten a lot better at it — at least, at the latter role — but it has taken a while. I love my children enormously but it was difficult for me to show it, especially when they were younger. Things are much better now: we can talk, laugh and joke together, watch movies, and so on. Tim Page.
Mr. Page has worked on his relationships with his children, who are now grown. He admitted how difficult it was to relate the deep love he felt in practical ways to his kids. But he’s persisted on making those relationships work.
Harness Your Special Interests
“In my darker moods, I think that the rest of my life can be encapsulated into a single sentence: I grew and grew into other preoccupations, some of which have served me well.” Tim Page
When considering your special interests, think about the following:
a) Is there plenty of financial opportunity for making money with this interest?
b) Am I good at producing helpful products relating to this special interest?
Helpful Links and Resources
Parallel Play: Growing Up Undiagnosed with Aspergers, by Tim Page. Tim has written his autobiography. Check out this New York Times article, Reflections on a Life Lived Way Outside the Box, for a helpful summary.
Parallel Play: A lifetime of restless isolation explained. Eloquent and fascinating article by Tim Page in the New Yorker magazine.
Living with Asperger Syndrome. The Washington Post hosted a call in hour, then summarized a question and answer session in which readers asked Mr. Page questions about his life. You’ll enjoy this article.
NPR All Things Considered Interview with Tim Page about Living with Aspergers.
Etiquette, by Emily Post. Tim Page credits this classic with helping him improve his social skills.
Over to you! What are your thoughts about Tim Page’s life and lessons?
photo credit: KOMUnews via photopin cc