I’ve learned a great deal about others because of my OA. I used to try to be tough all of the time, regardless of the way I felt. It’s not worth it! There are a trillion wonderful people out there, although among them there are people who can be hurtful, mean, and just downright strange. A professor friend of mine has wondered for years why people tend to talk louder when they discover he’s blind! (By the way, his hobby is mountain climbing!) I suppose that it is the same reason, that I’ve been treated as though I wasn’t very intelligent, just because I moved with a walker, braces or a cane. My only “problem” was that I was in pain all the time.
A guy that used to be my accountant (please note the past tense), announced one day that I was entirely too old to be attempting a landscaping business. He added that I also couldn’t be a good enough nature photographer to continue taking pictures all over the world (coincidentally, I had just spent 2 weeks learning to drive a dogsled and snowshoe in the North Country, and , shortly before that, I was doing a zipline in the rainforests of Costa Rica!). OK, so he saw me on one of those really humid achy days, and I was using a cane.
After a few brief days thinking I ought to hang up my shovels and camera, I got mad! Most days, I’m fine, other than having a few aches and pains. I’ve found it’s just fine for me to accept that wheelchair ride between plane connections on those really painful days---it’s very much worth a tip. I’ve found that I don’t always have to carry all of my gear by myself---sometime I love having a little help. I’ve also discovered that there’s something inside of me that refuses to let me just give up!
I won’t let OA always control my life. Yes, I do have to accept some limitations, but there’s still the soft gurgling of a mountain stream, the gentle breeze as I soar high in a powered parachute, the giggles of my grandkids as they play a game in the woods, the sigh of happiness when I share another sunrise picture with a friend, and even the beautiful wedding of wildflowers I’ve planted for a friend’s garden. No, I’m not too old and decrepit--I’ll pick up my shovel and my camera for another day, because I CAN DO IT!
Published On: August 17, 2006