7 Advantages of Being Blind
7 Advantages of Being Blind
by Alicia Krage
Sometime last year during my first semester away at college, I had a few consecutive days where everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. What made this even worse was that everything that went wrong was because of my blindness. My bus was late because scheduling got messed up, my screen reading software wouldn't read a document correctly, and on and on. My mantra on those days seemed to be "This would be a lot easier if I could see."
If I could see, I could've just walked to class. It would've taken a while, but it probably would've been more effective than waiting for a bus. Better yet, maybe I could've driven there. If I could see, I wouldn't have accessibility issues; I'd read things on the computer like my classmates do.
So after a few consecutive days of continuously having things go wrong, I talked to my boyfriend about it. I was very upset and was confiding in him about everything that went wrong and how that made me feel.
My boyfriend Joe is also blind, and I was sure he had these days too.
He also told me that it had taken him a while to feel confident and accept his disability - and that yes, some days are harder than others.
But then, after patiently waiting for me to finish up my stories and get everything off my chest, and after he offered some words of encouragement, he reminded me that while it does have its setbacks, being blind does have its advantages, too. And so then we discussed them.
- Not being able to see allows me to get to know somebody based on their personality rather than their looks. I can tell a lot about a person based on how they converse with me. If somebody greets me and sounds cheerful, I can presume that they're an outgoing person who's relatively easy to talk to.
- I'm a good multitasker. As a blind person, I have to listen to multiple things at once, such as various sound clues when traveling. At a coffee shop I can listen to various conversations and observe many things at once. This is a natural thing for me, so wherever I am I'm very observant of my environment.
- Being able to fully focus on a TV show or movie while in another room. There have been several occasions where I'm watching a TV show and doing something in another room, but as long as the volume is up, I'm perfectly capable of following along since I don't have to look to see what's going on.
- Communication is a lot easier. My boyfriend is blind, too, so I'll use my relationship with him as an example. Communication has always been something we've been very good at, and part of that is probably because we can't just look at the other's face to see if they're okay, if something's bothering them, or if something's wrong. We must say these things out loud in order to make the other person aware of it.
- I'm resourceful and able to learn things that others might find difficult. I have a lot of blind friends, and they have taught me how to do various things on my iPhone or on my computer that a sighted person probably wouldn't be able to teach me.
- Appreciating the little things. I find happiness and beauty in the smallest things: the sounds of the crickets at night, waking up to the birds outside my window, or falling asleep to the rain (when it starts to rain as I drift off to sleep, it's relaxing and a really nice sound).
- Reading. I listen to audio books on my phone, and I can do this while I do laundry or other tasks. This makes reading a lot easier. I like reading Braille, but I've read more books since I've gotten a Bookshare account and listen on my phone.
Talking with Joe about all this really made me realize that while yes there are some setbacks, there are great things that don't require vision — there are great moments in life you don't have to see with your eyes.