I hear people make excuses every day. And I have to admit, I have a hard time tolerating them. Sure, some people have more than their share of challenges thrown at them, but as the saying goes: “It’s not what happens TO you that defines you, it’s HOW you deal with it”. This should be my life’s mantra.
I was born functionally blind in one eye. I don’t know what it’s like to have 3D vision or perfect depth perception. I read, write, drive, everything with one eye. I’ve always been active, I craft, I drive, I do it all – except play sports . It’s all I’ve known. I sometimes wish I could have perfect vision for just a moment, but then I’d know what I’m missing. I’d know it’s better not to know.
By the time I was in 5th grade, I’d lived in 4 towns and attended 5 schools. I got good at moving and making new friends. I don’t know what it’s like to live one town for one’s entire life. Must be nice, but I had my family and it worked.
When I was 13, I discovered I had three short vertebrae, causing my spine to curve – scoliosis. Experimental back surgery was the only answer. So I underwent delicate spinal surgery lasting 8 hours followed by 6 months in bed in a body cast from my neck to my knees. I remember crying when I first heard the news, but from then on it became an adventure. Hospitalization was actually fun! Yes! There were three girls to a room for all that time bonding and doing what 13-14 year old girls do. For one year afterward, I wore a Milwaukee brace and returned to school, entering High School. I grew, I healed, and I’d always been self-conscious, so it was just another thing to deal with.
I have had countless experiences since then; failed marriage, major surgery, lost loves, betrayal, and much more. But has it defined me? NO! It has made me stronger, resilient, compassionate. I know what it’s like to have life throw curves, to feel what’s happening to me is unfair, crying alone at home because I’d received bad news from a doctor and not having someone to hold me and tell me it will be alright.
I’m not unique here, I know. There are worse things that could have happened to me. But that doesn’t matter. We all have our challenges in life. In a way, I’m grateful for mine. I can take what life throws at me because I know I will come out the other side having learned something. It will change me and help me to continue to evolve. The person I am today owes a deep gratitude to all those things that felt devastating at the time. And you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. Because of the events that unfolded in my life, I had the courage to give up everything to live my life and it’s led me to a beautiful place. A place where I have true love, meaningful work, great people and a future that I can’t wait to see unfold. Cheers!