Day 483: Vision

I have very poor vision, which can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

I did not know that I had poor vision, until I was in elementary school. When that was discovered,  I got my first pair of glasses. These glasses have appeared in this blog before, in this photo (from this previous post, Day 465: Personal Protective Equipment):

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When I got those glasses, it seemed to me that the boys in my elementary school lost interest in me.  But it’s often difficult to have the vision to see cause-and-effect. That is, there are often many complicated factors that contribute to an outcome.

But as human beings, we naturally see relationships and causes between events.

For example, I am aware, right now, that I wrote that blog with the picture above, a few weeks ago, on the last day I was at work. Since then, I have been away from work — in the hospital and then home — recovering from pneumonia.

And here’s a wild, cause-and-effect connection that pops up in my mind right now:

That was the first time, in all the days I’ve been blogging, that I showed my readers a photo of what I looked like when recovering from my first heart surgery at age 10.  That felt like a risk that day, to show people how ill and awful I felt, back then. And since I published that photo, I have been ill and unable to work.  Coincidence??????!!!!??

What do you think, dear readers? is it a coincidence?

I think it is.

However, we tend to see these connections among incidents and outcomes.  We especially think that way, when we are children.

When we apply cause-and-effect reasoning like that, we can blame ourselves — or at least make ourselves more responsible and powerful than we really are.

That’s what children often do, as they are figuring out how the world works, especially when they are dealing with something traumatic and unexpected.

I recognize those things in myself: that I tend to blame myself, at times, when things go wrong. Some measure of control, when things are unexpected and seem out of control, can seem safer.

Did that make sense?

I’m not myself these days, as I recover from pneumonia, so it’s harder, than usual, for me to see if I am communicating clearly.

And as often happens in these blog posts, I am getting “off topic.” (Although, as I sometimes tell people in my therapy groups, there is no such thing as “off topic.”  Everything relates, somehow.)

When I say I’m “off topic,” I mean that I have yet to begin writing about what I intended to share with you, when I started this post today.

When I started this post, this morning, my main intent was to write something about Helen Keller.

I wanted to tell you this:  When I was young, I read a book about Helen Keller that inspired me, very much.  That book influenced my ideas about where I wanted to go to college, among other things.

This morning, as I felt some discouragement about the rate of my recovery, I went to Google Images, because I assumed that Helen Keller would have some useful thoughts for me.

And she did:

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There are lots more quotes I could include here, but I want to end with this one:

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You can find that image here. In addition, I can find that exact image in my office  at work, on a card that was given to me several years ago, by a co-worker.

I hope to encounter that card again soon, when I am well enough to be seeing it.

One last thing: I expected that writing this post would help me a great deal, this morning.

And indeed it has.

Thanks to Helen Keller, to everyone else who helped me write this, and to you — of course! — for reading this post today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , | 58 Comments

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58 thoughts on “Day 483: Vision

  1. Thank you for these inspirational quotes.

  2. Thank you for your visit.
    I love this post and I will be back!

  3. Richard Dawkins talks about why we place significance on events that have no relation when analyzes Type I and Type II errors. Type I being a “false positive” where we see patterns where none exist. Type II errors are the opposite and is a “false negative” or failing to detect a pattern where one exists. Apparently each species is prone to these types of errors and each species shows a tendency towards one type or the other. Humans of course are prone to Type I errors. Basically a lot of it has to do with how much energy we must expend to survive and how defensible we are to the natural predators we evolved with. Type I errors are also tied heavily to why we believe in things as well. A rustle in the bushes might have a small chance of being a lion, but it’s better to believe that it is a lion and stay alive. As a result people tie significance to coincidences, and in general worry about things that have a small probability of happening often at the expense of being concerned about things that are a real threat. It’s interesting stuff.

  4. What an amazing woman! These quotes you have chosen are very profound and applicable to each of us. I’m sorry to hear you are not feeling well. Hope you recover 100% soon. I got my diagnosis of short-sightedness and glasses when I was in about the 4th grade. I hated wearing them, (vanity) but was thrilled to learn that I could see individual leaves on trees, and not just big green blobs. cheers. Gail

    • Thanks for this cheery comment, Gail. Helen Keller has said so many amazing things (as well as accomplishing so many incredible things, too). I love the story about you and your glasses.

  5. yeseventhistoowillpass

    You may not have the greatest of eyesight but you do have the greatest insight and that trumps a lot! Peace

  6. Sometimes you have to not see before you can see what you’re missing. I think you will be back seeing the comforts of work soon enough, Ann, even though it’s not been as soon as you’d like.

    And, don’t you know, some boys like girls with glasses.

  7. Helen Keller was a wise and inspiring woman (like you). But I disagree with her about one thing. I do like shortcuts. I find them useful and often refreshing. Especially when forested.

    I think that when you published the photo of yourself at ten you were already feeling vulnerable or tired. It may be why you thought back to that time when you were ten and feeling vulnerable and tired. But you do write every day and so from time to time, in between your posts about Boston commons and Whole Foods pies, you might share with us things from your past when you are in a reflective mood. And then because you are you, you always find a way to connect your posts to each other, like dandelion chains.

    I liked Helen’s observation that “What I am looking for is not out there. It is in me.” I have felt that way sometimes myself. But Helen probably had a very well-organized inner world. Mine is scattered, the cupboards stuffed too full for anything to be safely pulled out with any hope of return. So now I am accepting that yes, what I am looking for is very likely in there, but the chances that I am going to find it are slim and getting slimmer, so I had better enjoy the things I find that I never thought to look for.

    You can see why I don’t work for a greeting card company.

    • Yeah, I wondered about the shortcuts quote, too. However, I thought it was important for me, right now, because I don’t want to take any shortcuts to getting better. I had to remind myself about that because I LOVE shortcuts, in general.

      Actually, I think you should start your own greeting card company. I would definitely buy those cards.

  8. Helen Keller was a very amazing woman, but I still love the story of Anne Sullivan who overcame so much and was the teacher and companion of Ms. Keller. It’s wonderful sometimes how what seems like a pure tragedy and so unfair turns out to be just what we needed to help others.

  9. The Dancing Rider

    I also had vision trouble early on. Lazy eye, surgery, and — of course — glasses! Helen Keller was wise, strong, and an inspirational person. It’s good you found this today, when you needed it. And I ‘m a big fan of wandering blog entries sometimes. As you say, it is all related in some way or another. Hope today finds you feeling a bit better.

    • I had a “lazy eye,” too! That seems like a harsh word to use about an eye that’s trying its best, doesn’t it? Thank you for this inspiring and kind comment.

      • The Dancing Rider

        Lol! It sure does. I never really thought about that term! Poor lazy eye! It would certainly somehow be a victim in today’s society! 😉

  10. Lovely post and quotes by Helen Keller.
    I have a hearing disability so empathise with your childhood vision problem, albeit that I did not have to suffer the torment about ‘glasses’ (just ridicule when I did not get jokes :))
    I hope that you are recovering from your recent health set-backs.

  11. to use your ill-being’s energy
    transformed into inspiration for others, how kind! 🙂

  12. May your health quickly improve. Thank you for brightening my day!
    Russ

  13. Same here. My teacher sent a note home to my parents to have me tested because they felt I was mentally unfit to be in class because when it came to reading and it was my turn, I usually blankly looked up with a huh? If asked a question about something on the board, I could never answer. My mother knew something was wrong and came down to the school herself to take them to task. Come to find out, in the 1st grade, I had a 7th grade level and comprehension. They then realized, I could not see very well, and it was due to several bouts with measles. So I started wearing glasses and became the butt of my classmates in a new way.. First I was retard and then I became 4 eyes. thanks to my family, I learned to slough this cruelty off and to have sympathy for such people. but it was hardfor a little bit.

    • It sounds really hard. Thanks for telling that story of cruelty and triumph. I am so grateful for your comment.

      • I’m glad you posted this. some people don’t have a clue but maybe, it will open their eyes and it is something they can pass on and teach to others about kindness and understanding.

      • We can always learn more about kindness and understanding, I think.

  14. Powerful. And I choose “daring”!

  15. Beautiful!

  16. For you:

    🙂

  17. I got my first set of glasses in the third grade. They were almost identical to yours. I’ll bet yours were either pink or turquoise. My eyesight is still terrible but since starting contacts in 1978, the yearly deterioration was dramatically reduced. Thank you for following my blog.

  18. Thank you sharing Helen Keller’s moving words!
    May you keep getting better day by day.
    Val x

  19. Oh, this inspiration turned my week around already. Wonderful!

  20. Wonderful quotes, some of them was spot on for today! Hope you feel better soon!

  21. As always, you inspire, Ann. And Helen Keller was pretty smart too. 🙂 May you continue to grow in your super powers (super vision in this case) during this time of rest and recover very soon.

    • Love this idea of super vision, Mel. Thanks so much for your visit and another inspiring comment.

      • You’re very welcome. Insights are more valuable than eyesight, as Helen Keller is a testament. And yours are super!

  22. I had forgotten. I, too, was deeply impressed by Helen Keller as a child and have hardly thought of her since (… that’s not entirely true, now I think about it, she must have influenced my second novel…). Such insight! Thank you. Re coincidences, I agree. We live in a continuous stream of them, but the ones we notice we can’t help trying to rationalise, and in spite of all our efforts our brains insist on creating connections where no evidence of them exists.

  23. Hope your feeling better and thanks for sharing such great inspirational quotes… Lor

  24. I popped over for a quick look and ended up sticking around for coffee =). I have thoroughly enjoyed reading every word. Well, my heart goes out to you as you recover and hope you feel better soon, so I haven’t ‘enjoyed’ those words, per se, but when you write, the words flow together and I find myself caught up in them. I’m transported to where you are at that moment. It’s been a wonderful visit and I loved all the Helen Keller quotes.

    • I am so glad you dropped by and stayed! Your beautifully expressed compliments and kind wishes mean a lot to me. I look forward to future encounters here.

  25. Willy Nilly

    You have overcome much and I hope you are well soon. I am kindly reminded of the government issue glasses we weak-eyed warriors received. They were basically hideous, but free to the owner/operator. The acronym was BCG. Birth Control Glasses. Apparently, the glasses had a chilling effect on potential baby booms in the military glasses wearing demographic.

    • Willy Nilly! Thank you for this kind, interesting, and amazing comment. So glad to see you (with my non-military glasses).

  26. Pingback: Day 494: Facial Expressions | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  27. Pingback: Day 749: Brave enough | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  28. Pingback: Day 2020: Vision | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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