The hottest ice in town is under the skates of the Chicago Blackhawks. And the hottest ticket on ice is for the Hawks’ Stanley Cup series against Anaheim. So, when I bump into Billy, he greets me with, “Long time no see. I’m going to the Hawks’ game tonight!”
Had he said, “I’m eloping with Jennifer Lopez tonight,” he couldn’t sound more excited. ”That’s great,” I say.
“More than great, it’s awesome!” says Billy. “I got the ticket from my dad.”
“That’s awesome, too,” I say.
“Not really,” says Billy. “He died last week.”
Billy’s version of “turning lemons into lemonade” inspires me to look for new ways to adapt to blindness. Since my recent slip in eyesight, I’ve been feeling sorry for myself. This self-pity breeds inertia when what I need is action. Rather than my customary approach of trying to think my way into action, I’ll try to act my way into right thinking.
I’m getting busy — not just busy using manic activity as avoidance (I’ve already cleaned the house three times), but goal-directed busy. By having my cataracts inspected, I make informed decisions. By brushing up on orientation and mobility skills, I am safer. By investing time and effort, I master new ways to do old things. By learning technology, I find a world at my fingertips. By listening, I connect. By talking and writing about this overwhelming life change, I’m more positive. By learning about grief and loss, I’m coping better.
The key is self-knowledge. When I know what I bring into transactions, including diminishing eyesight, I better understand the outcome. Knowing I tend toward perfectionism, I understand my frustration. Knowing I like things done right and done right now, I understand my impatience. Now, imagine if I bring into these interactions that I am adaptable, that I have adapted to many drops in eyesight. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and, if I’ve done it before, I can do it again.