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.

This entry was posted in Adapting, Blindness, Moving beyond vision loss, problem solving and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Lemonade

  1. Jane Thomas says:

    Jeff, as usual your approach to vision loss, and life, inspire me to do better. Thank you for your insight and positive ways to move forward despite adversity. And thank Billy, too!

  2. bethfinke says:

    Hey, and while you think through all this, any chance I can talk you into coming over and cleaning *my* house? I’m afraid I’m an imperfectionist…


  3. Andrea says:

    I’ve been there, too. Along with the pity party, I feel weary having to tackle a new obstacle. But the pity party gets boring rather quickly, so I put on some tunes and move. Thanks for writing a great blog!

  4. Susy Clark says:

    Jeff, hopefully now that spring is moving into summer, you will be inspired by the other senses heightened. The trees in bloom, trying to identify the different garden flowers you pass by, then the feel of the summer air on your skin. without the insects would be nice. Sharing one’s struggle is really hard for most of us, we don’t want to burden others. But it brings people closer in being able to go through it with you and helping to carry a bit of the burden because we care.

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