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When My Best Friend Taught Me About Optimism During a Snowstorm

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All my life I’ve been a pessimist , always worrying about the Here and Now, worrying about the small things in life, wishing things were different, wishing I didn’t have a disability. I have always seen the glass half empty and let every little thing bug me.

When I met my friend Bill, I was amazed at his overall take on the world, despite it not being easily accessible due to his cerebral palsy. He always takes our adventures with a laugh and a joke, while I look at the world as a depressing and often confusing place.

bill and mandy smiling

When we first started going on adventures on our own, it was around Christmas time, and the children’s museum I worked at had a grand opening gala for an exhibit I helped build. He loved seeing where I worked and was excited to meet my fellow coworkers.

We left a little early, as it was starting to snow outside. It was dark, and the roads and sidewalks were getting covered fast. One of the streetlights in the parking lot was blown, which made it hard to see the curb. And almost like a movie in slow motion, there went Bill’s chair as it tipped over into the empty street.

I was in complete shock, in tears thinking I’d hurt my best friend.

Then I heard laughter from below.

Despite an an abrasion on his hand and his little glass bottle of Coke from the gala shattered around him, he was the ground, laughing.

“That was fun! Let’s do it again!”

Two guys from the bar nearby came up and helped him off the ground and brushed the snow off him. They looked at me and one of them said, “Relax, he’s fine.”

As the gentleman walked away, Bill, with his sarcastic sense of humor, looked at me and said, “You remember when you first saw me in my chair and asked why it had a seatbelt? Well, now you know.”

He gave me a hug, and we laughed on our walk back to catch our ride.

That day recently came into mind as I’ve been dealing with a multitude of issues of my own. I spent many days worrying about what the world treats me as and not about the reality — that my limitations shouldn’t damper my ability to be optimistic. In times like these, I think about Bill lying in the ground, tipped over, laughing at his situation and, like the snow that covered him, brushing it off.

Needless to say, I want to be more like him.

And I’m hoping one day, and soon, I will be.

Follow this journey on Legally Blind Bagged.

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Originally published: March 23, 2016
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