After a much needed vacation, I returned to New York rested and a little saner but also with a lot on my mind. I guess when the body and the mind get a chance to slow down, you start to notice things that perhaps you've gotten too used to.
Just a quick background info- my mom took a little tumble in the backyard and ended up injured. Not the best scenario for a vacation but also the best prescription for the two of us. With her out of commission, we were forced to slow down considerably and have a little more R&R than perhaps we would have.
Enter the wheelchair and cane.
I have always thought of myself as a fairly tolerant and considerate person. I believe that my parents taught me the best they could have and I am very grateful for that.
BUT I feel like there are people on this planet who have not been blessed with the same education.
I met some of the most helpful and considerate people over the last few weeks. I am really grateful to them for taking some of the pressure off of me- most of it self-induced I admit.
I hate seeing the people I love in any sort of pain. I hate seeing the look on their face when they just can't help themselves in the same ways that they are used to.
Getting ourselves in and out of cars, planes, elevators and cruise ships was a challenge for sure. I am surprised by the reaction of other people while witnessing my experience.
Just to vent for a moment- the complete lack of regard for someone in a wheelchair amazes me. Why do you need to ram your oversized suitcases into an elevator without looking to see where you're aiming your bag? Perhaps there is someone in a wheelchair sitting there with knees braces and ankle braces that could perhaps be in your line of attack? Perhaps your patience has been earned, if not given willingly, just because someone can't move as fast as you'd like them to. Perhaps you could give up that "go, go go" mentality for just a moment as someone tries to do something for themselves that they haven't been able to. Perhaps you could put aside the pushing and shoving just for a little bit. Perhaps you could say please, thank you or any of the other trivial "common" everyday sayings that we all take for granted.
I saw all of this over my vacation and some or most directed towards myself or my mom. Having her slow down forced me to slow down. I needed it so much more than she did. I had to put aside my own agenda of constant movement, constant action, I need to be here, I need to do that mentality.
I also did see an amazing amount of kindess and that was also something that I really needed to see and something that I need to embrace myself.
As much as it saddened me to be on the receiving end of some unkindness and intolerance, it really opened my eyes. I needed to see all of this and I needed to learn how to buffer myself from it and not be nearly as sensitive. It's not a personal affront. Some people just don't know any better.
My job now is to open up just a few more pairs of eyes and maybe make things a little bit easier for someone else. Life is hard enough for all of us, we could do a little something to make someone else's journey a little smoother.
Just my two cents...