According to many surveys, going blind is something people fear most, right behind cancer.  I’ve written plenty of posts related to fear and grief and challenges.  But I’ve seldom touched on all the fringe benefits of blindness.
Some readers may think I’m joking, but honestly there are parts of my life that have turned out to be pretty great because of low vision.  So I put together these top 10 reasons blind people lead the best lives:
  1. We don’t have to see bugs.  Yup, there have only been a handful of times I have seen tiny spiders or spotted a boxelder.  I guess the downside is that if a little insect does happen to creep its way into my line of vision, it tends to creep immediately back out, so then I get major heebie jeebies knowing that it’s somewhere near me.  Also, my chances of ever killing a bug, especially flying ones, are pretty much nonexistent.  Honestly, my 3-year-old has a better chance of swatting a fly than I do.  But, for the  most part, I really don’t have to worry about ever seeing bugs.
  2. We get to share laundry duty.  My husband spots all the clothes, and I wash, dry and fold them.  I know, he just helps with one step, but there’s something about sharing the load (literally!) that makes chores like laundry less overwhelming.  I know sighted people can, in theory, share laundry duty, but I don’t have to beg my husband to share duties since he knows it’s a necessity if we want stain-free clothes (which we don’t always have, but we try!)
  3. Very few trips to the grocery store.  Blind people everywhere are scowling at their screens, demanding that I mention that people without sight are perfectly capable of grocery shopping if given the tools and techniques.  That is true.    But I still hate grocery stores.  Since my husband knows it tends to take me a lot longer in the store, he volunteers to go.  So I make detailed shopping lists and plan meals and cook, but he gets the shopping part out of the way.  He says it doesn’t feel like a huge chore because I give him an itemized list by section in the store, and he usually does it on his way home from work.  Apparently he makes it into a kind of game where he sees how fast he can get through the store and how much $ he can save.
  4. Lots of one-on-one time to get to know people.  Given the number of family and friends I carpool with on a regular basis, I have the opportunity to get to know a lot of different people as we talk during car rides.  A few of these have developed into deeper friendships than I would have imagined, and I think a lot of it has to do with the sheet amount of time we have to interact during all our “road trips”.
  5. More contemplation time. Blind and visually-imparied people do a lot of waiting.  We wait to be dropped off; we wait to be picked up; and we wait for assistance.  I used to feel frustrated by all the waiting.  But as I sat and texted and read and thought while waiting an hour and half for the bus after a doctor’s appointment that ended early last week, I realized how useful and important this down time can be in a person’s day (I wrote about down time and some of the research behind it in “Lessons in Decompression“)
  6. More time with spouse.  Some people may question whether this can really be counted as a positive, but I really enjoy extra time with mine!   I definitely feel like I spend a lot more time riding in the car with my husband than most people do with their significant others.   Even if this extra time is out of necessity, I still really enjoy it!
  7. Exposure to more diverse and interesting people.  Through taking more public transportation, as well as sometimes needing help from strangers, I have met some pretty interesting people.
  8. Shorter Lines at Disney World.  I’ve never actually been to Disney, but my mobility instructor told me that blind people and their party can skip to the front of the lines.  (This is also nice in airport security lines!)
  9. First access to unique new inventions.  Check out these magic shoes!  Notice that it’s not the sighted  people who get to try them first since it’s an invention for blind people.
  10. We don’t get speeding tickets.  enough said.
Bonus reason:  Free Guide Dog.  Since I’m a sucker for anything “free”, I love that I could get a free, well-trained pure-bred canine friend to guide me around.  While my allergies may not agree, I still love the idea!
Fellow VIPs, I hope you’re not offended or feeling trivialized.  Sometimes we need to laugh about things and not take life too seriously.  I’m sure there are even more reasons we lead amazing lives out there, so add them in the comment section if you’d like!
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34 thoughts on “Fringe Benefits of Blindness

  1. I completely agree! In fact I just wrote a similar post about some of the things I love about being VI. I think it’s fine to like that aspect of yourself, even if sighties don’t understand. Why have such a huge part of your life be only a downer just because other people say it should be? Bah! It’s not. There are good things about it too. Maybe if we talked about that more, people wouldn’t fear it so much. 🙂

    • Good point, Erin. I’ll have to check out that post. I remember someone referred me to your blog once, and I really like it! You live an amazing life and care for your children so well!

    • lol, I’ve never heard the term “hardcore” in reference to visually impaired before– I like it! And yes, contemplation time and meeting interesting people are a couple of my favorites too!

  2. My two blind brothers have said they appreciate being less tempted by pornography and are therefore free from the potential distruction that it might otherwise bring to marriage. Not that blind guys are inherently less tempted, but they can walk into a convenience store or surf the web without their eyes drifting to a sleezy side banner.

    • Ha, good point! Ironically enough, I knew a blind man in college who married a friend of a friend. She recently told me that they got divorced because of his addiction to pornography. So I don’t know if he just spent countless hours listening to x-rated movies or what! Anyways, glad it helps with your brothers’ marriages though! 🙂

    • Good point. I’m also constantly hearing friends complain about having to find dog sitters when they go on vacation, so it’s nice that dog handlers don’t have to worry about that either!

  3. Love the top 10 Joy! Especially Disney! Come out to visit us anytime ad we’ll take you to Disneyland. Seriously though I miss you all and would love to see you. Give the girls a hug for me!

    • Aw, thanks Tracy! I don’t know how I first missed this comment when I was looking at them (blame it on RP, lol). We would absolutely LOVE to come do Disney in CA with you! I’ll start talking to Ben about dates! Hugs to your girlies as well!

    • Another great one– thanks Leann! (although I still feel mortified when I spill something, even if I do have the perfect excuse!)

  4. I have one she left out. My VI-ness reveals other peoples character very quickly. The selfish or self obsorbed don’t make it very long because when you hang out with a VI person you actually have to think about that person more than you do yourself. Also if you are a rude person the white cane or guide dog draws that right out of you and displays it for all of the world to see;)

  5. I love your positive attitude Joy! You are amazing!
    And I must point out that your loving husband is pretty amazing also. Love you!

  6. Reading this was a great “eye opener” for me. It gives me a much better understanding of VI. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Hello Joy, I enjoyed reading this post. I also try and look on the bright side of having RP and it is good to see your top 10. I especially like the Disney Land one 🙂 I have recently started a blog about living with RP as I have found reading other people’s blogs including yours and found it helpful. So I thought that I would try blogging myself in the hopes to help others as well.

  8. Great post! I can TOTALLY relate to the bugs comment! I absolutely love living in complete denial, as I imagine my house is completely bug free. 🙂

    One of the biggest benefits I have received from my visual impairment is: I now allow myself the freedom to stop and savor what I call “visual delights.” When I see things that catch my eye — sunlight dancing on water, joy on the faces of my loved ones, unique colors of flowers and leaves, light rippling through leaves, etc — I have no problem stopping whatever I am doing to simply delight in what I see. I am so thankful I have learned how to slow down and savor these sights!

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