Firstly I’d like to wish you all very happy new year. May 2020 bring you happiness good health and plenty of adventures.
A Blinding Light begins the new decade Stateside. Towards the end of 2019, my husband and I bundled up our two little toddlers, and took a jaunt across the Atlantic, moving our little family from Yorkshire to New York. It has been quite an experience so far with plenty of new things to learn every single day. There are of course similarities and differences you can expect when moving to a different continent, but throw into the mix a visual impairment and two young children, and things get really interesting. We’ve been here a little while now and very soon we will be moving into a new place to set up home. There will be plenty of challenges along the way and plenty of opportunities to discover new things. With all that life is throwing at us at the moment, there are three areas I think will feature heavily in my life and therefore, on the blog this year. Firstly, I’m working on cultivating a life that works for me, where my visual impairment isn’t the focus, but simply something that can be accommodated. Secondly, I intend to continue learning about sight loss and the skills I need to live with it. Finally, I will be working on happiness and well being, searching for ways to find peace with my vision and nurture happiness and fulfillment.
Building a life that works for us
We find ourselves presented with the opportunity of setting up home from scratch. Again. We have been doing our research and are deciding how to make the most of the technology available, to build a home that best serves our needs. As a visually impaired mum, our home should be set up in a way that allows me to look after my family and home easily and should be a space where we enjoy family life without obstacles. This will be an interesting project with all the new developments in smart home technology avaliable now. As a disclaimer, I am not a tech expert, but I think that means if something can work for me, it can work for a lot of people. Luckily my super tech savvy, knowledgable (geeky?!) and wonderful husband Mark, will be playing a significant role in our mission build a home that works. There’s a number of things we would like to try, both high-tech and low-tech, so I’ll let you know how it goes. Perhaps some things that work for us, might work for you too! As a couple, and now as a family, we believe that while some things are beyond our control (like my visual impairment), there are many things we can control. It’s not about changing our behavior so we can fit into a certain lifestyle, but rather cultivating a life we want, that works for our unique requirements. For me, that includes finding a way to lead a life of happiness, compassion and adventure, enjoying and caring for my family, while learning to live with sight loss. I don’t want to be a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I’d rather find a square hole that is just right for me.
Keep learning about blindness
With my ever changing vision, I am constantly learning and relearning how to get things done. Being in a different country has added a new dimension to this reality. I have discovered some blindness-related skills are geography-specific and I may have to revisit how to do certain things in this new setting. In a strange way, America has lulled us into a false sense of security. We have the English language in common and it feels familiar, because in the UK, we are surrounded by American culture in the TV shows and films we watch, the music we listen to, the books we read and the current affairs that are reported to us. On the ground, there are plenty of differences, from crossing the road to managing finances and doing the school run. Some differences are sutble, others are more pronounced and more complicated, but either way it means relearning rather a lot. I’ll keep you updated on the challenges and the solutions I come across as well as any other VI related topics that spark my interest along the way.
Well being and happiness
I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, (I can’t diet because I love food), but at the start of a new decade, even I feel the urge to start something afresh and to have positive intentions. I can’t put my finger on what those intentions are specifically, but I know I want to be happy and I want my family to be happy. I also think that being happy must involve spreading a little happiness too. It all sounds very vague doesn’t it? My former law firm boss and her SMART targets would disapprove. But there’s so many elements to happiness and well being, which I think differ depending on your circumstances. For me, finding a way to live with blindness whilst ensuring physical and mental well being for me and my family plays a role in that. Probably more than I care to admit. So although I don’t know what my formula for well being is right now, I’m going to try to take steps in the right direction. Those steps have to include working on being at peace with my blindness and who I am now. My new identity. Because blindness has changed me and I need to get to know the new 2.0 version of Me, and learn to love her without resentment or pining for the original Me. This might include taking a bit of time for myself. After four years entirely immersed in motherhood and learning to live with deteriorating vision, it will be interesting to try to see myself as simply ‘Me’, no labels attached, once more. I’ll take you along for the journey as I work on rhis. Basically, I’ll do my usual thing and bumble along, trying to figure things out.
So all in all, it’s shaping up to be an exciting year! I hope you’ll join me as we jump into 2020 and see what adventures unfold.