Welcome back to another installment of “Ask Adrian Anything.” This is intended to give our readers an opportunity to communicate directly with one of our No Boundaries participants, Adrian, about his experiences in the workplace, living independently and out in the community. This past month people asked asked about Adrian’s holiday traditions, voting, pets, and employment! It will be conducted in an interview format with Tricia asking the questions provided by you, our readers!
Tricia: What holidays do you celebrate?
Adrian: I celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. For a while, when I was younger, I celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah, but Hanukkah was short lived. I enjoyed the family getting together and the gifts, but overall it did not work out. I like Thanksgiving and Christmas both the same.
Tricia: What are some of the special things you do for the holidays?
Adrian: Thanksgiving is usually a bigger crowd of people for us, like 13 or more, but this year was a simple seven. We had the usual fixings: turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and a bundt cake for my cousin’s birthday. Her birthday usually falls around Thanksgiving so we celebrate on the actual day of Thanksgiving.
About a week or so after Thanksgiving, we set up our Christmas decorations and our trees. I set one up in my place and I help my mom with hers. We’ll play holiday music as we decorate our house. My parents, brother and I also write up holiday lists and we all do our shopping at our own time.
My mom and I bake cookies around the holiday season. We’ve done blackout cookies (chocolate with a dusting of powdered sugar), we’ve done the kind with the Hershey’s kiss in the middle, we’ve done ones shaped like a snowman/Christmas tree, and we have also made bark (a chocolate covered matzo with nuts that’s frozen). I have also made these chocolate truffles. They are peanut butter, dark chocolate and ruffles potato chips. There are a few other ingredients also.
Tricia: What is your favorite part of Christmas? Tell me why it is important to give gifts to people who you love?
Adrian: I like the winter holidays because they are all about getting friends and family together. It’s nice to get gifts for people because it show you pay attention to them during the year. It shows that you are just as active in their lives as they are in yours. Giving gifts is just as important as receiving them. The concept of paying attention and being active in others lives works both ways. Sometimes it’s good to just give and not receive because it shows more of a selfless feeling. I’m not going to say I’m expecting to get nothing this year, but the idea behind it is just as good.
Tricia: What advice or tips can you give about managing stress during the holiday season?
Adrian: The best one that comes to mind would be to think about a good holiday memory from a previous holiday and keep it in mind. I personally write poetry or maybe turn a thought into a fictional story. I also color, play video games, watch TV or read.
Adrian: One resolution that always comes around this time of year that I think a lot of people make is weight loss. I have lost a lot of weight since the beginning of 2016, but some of it comes back. I know what I have to do, but like most people it’s an endless battle.
Tricia: Would you share your family’s tradition for voting in elections?
Adrian: Sure. My parents and I vote by mail meaning we get the ballots in the mail and we can take our time filling them out. Since there are many judges, it’s hard to figure out which are good or not as good. So we go online and locate a site that says which judges are in the running and what party they represent. Then we vote.
Tricia: The boys really want another pet – something other than a dog. What pets have you had and which did you most enjoy?
Adrian: That is a good question. A long time ago, I remember having a cat; a Maine Coon. I have also had fish. With fish, if you get a big tank and a lot of different fish you can decorate it, maybe like Finding Nemo.
Cats are very independent creatures. They can also be easy to play with. Yarn balls and laser pointers are fun and easy ways to play with them. They are very sweet and soft, which makes them great for petting and holding. You just may want to invest in a lot of Swiffer products.
I have always liked cats, fish are fun, but I also had a female Great Dane growing up. They all have good and some not so good qualities, but they are all good pets. It depends on the person’s choice.
Tricia: Do you have any job suggestions for someone over 50?
Adrian: I would suggest taking a look at your resume and trying to remember what your experience was like at each job, internship, and/or volunteer position. Then maybe see if there is a pattern. If there is, see if that pattern could lead to something you may like. If not, look more into the details. For example, you liked the office work at one job, but you didn’t like the constant deadlines. Then compile all the small things you liked and didn’t like into separate sections. Maybe you can find something you like from what you did like.
Tricia: Do you have any tips for someone starting a new job to manage a work/life balance?
Adrian: It is hard to balance two halves of who you are or, for that matter, two big parts of your life. The best advice I can think of is to carve out some time just for you. What you do with this time will vary from person to person. If you’re most relaxed with your family, then go with that. If you prefer to take a nap or just have a do nothing time period, then go with that. For me, when I get the chance to, I’ll hop on Skype (a online video calling system) and chat with friends. At the same time, I’ll color, write some poetry or rewrite one of my many stories to clean it up/ edit. It all depends on who you are, what you like doing and what relaxes you. If you can’t find the time, try listening to music that relaxes you, just remember to keep one ear open.
Adrian is has worked part-time at The Fine Line for the past three years. In addition to work, Adrian is a regular participant in the No Boundaries, Train for Life/Train for Work program, and an active member in the writing group HeartWords at The Center for Independent Futures. In his free time Adrian writes and publishes poetry on his own blog and stays active with a regular workout routine.