Why Not Me?

Hear the clarion call from Chicago radio: “Strap on your helmet, slip into Spandex and Bike the Drive!”

Lake Shore Drive closed to cars and open to bicycles for one gloriously clear, cool Sunday morning. Here’s the vision—me on my ten-speed, Lake Michigan blue and sparkly, the Drake Hotel in my sights. Here’s the feeling—grip the handlebars, lean into the turn, pump the pedals.

Then I hit the pothole. Reality check. My vision fractured, blinded and grounded, sidelined and heartsick. Why me, oh, why me?

For years into vision loss, “Why me?” was my last word. Self-pity translated “Why me?” to “Poor me.” Victimhood dictated that active became passive, involved became isolated, with became without. Bike the Drive rode from real to imagined, lacking everything except frustration.

Resilience is a measure of recovery. Coping is finding new ways to do old things. For Bike the Drive, friends partner with sighted pilots on tandem bikes. That works for them, but rings hollow to me. Like taking your sister to the prom, it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.

So, I’m staying on the sidelines again this year. But I’m not acting the self-pitying victim, without choice, without hope. I’ve made my decision not from fear and resentment, but from respect for my quality of life. This is huge, this power to choose how to meet my needs. I have the freedom to say no rather than have it said to me and for me.

I am reframing “Why me?” into “Why not me?” And I say this from a place of abundance rather than deprivation. My life is full with purpose. Time and acceptance have granted me the balance to bounce back from disappointment, feel the loss and go on. Maybe not on a ten-speed or a tandem, but go on nonetheless.

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5 Responses to Why Not Me?

  1. bethfinke says:

    My favorite line from this post? The one where you say you can say no rather than have it said to you and for you. I still miss my bicycle after all these years. Riding a tandem makes conversation a lot easier during a ride, but I resent having to coast when the captain coasts and pedal when the captain pedals.


    • Judi says:

      My fave is where he says “Time and acceptance have granted me the balance to bounce back from disappointment, feel the loss and go on.” That is a real accomplishment.

  2. Maggie says:

    This made me think of my 2 attempts at skiing, downhill one year, cross country the next. I missed my favorite sport so much that I tried it as a blind skier. Now I know that all that must be in my past and I don’t mind, well, not too much, just a little.

  3. Kevin J says:

    Your “Why Not Me” comment reminded me of a very good book I read from Michael Hingson called Thunder Dog and it is about his life (growing up as a blind kid, his experience of escaping the World Trade Towers on 9-11, and just living). He develops the “Why Not” attititude as well. It is a very good book. Also, have you ever looked into developing your echolocation skills? There are blind people out there that do ride a bike independently and not tandem because they have developed very strong echolocation skills. Dan Kish is a blind O&M who loves to mountain bike and he does so through echolocation. Might be worth looking into.

    • Jeff Flodin says:

      Thanks to all for your comments! Yes, I have read Mike Hingson’s book – even missed my bus stop because I was so intrigued by his struggle to get out of the Twin Towers. And I’m very curious about echo location and will check it out. Again, thanks to all of you for your reading and commenting.

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