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:
- 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.
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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”.
- 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“)
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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!