Regular readers will be aware that I have a vision impairment. I was born with congenital cataracts, and had around twelve operations as a child, my first at 12 weeks, and most before the age of four.
There’s no explanation for why my sight was affected – it was just one of those things that I put down to incredibly bad luck. But on the other hand, I was also extremely lucky because I was treated by an outstandingly skilled eye surgeon who was able to give me the sight I have today. I’m unlucky that I have only 25% of normal sight, even with my glasses, but I’m lucky that it’s 25% more than no sight at all.
At school it was unfair that I was teased because of my ridiculously thick glasses and nose to the page reading (even some adults still make offensive references to both), but at the same time I’m incredibly fortunate that I was gifted with a smart brain, that I was able to cope with normal schooling, and that I possessed a fierce determination to be the best that I could be.
I could write pages about how sometimes I feel unlucky (that small child who was teased and excluded is still in the background stamping her foot because life isn’t fair). But I could write just as much about the times I feel so fortunate, so lucky and so grateful for the people, things, characteristics and experiences that make me who I am.
So the story I tell myself now is that I’m both lucky and unlucky – that life is neither fair nor unfair, it just is what it is, and it’s forever unfolding. And in response to the inevitable negatives or disappointments, I’m practising being less reactive, by not feeling sorry for myself, comparing criticising or assigning blame. By focusing on the bigger picture of life in its totality, I can be more accepting of what is, inevitably, the roller coaster journey of being human, alive and flourishing.
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