How You Can Be Blind But Still Have Vision

Victoria Nolan in Canadian athletic uniform.

We all experience blindness, but not everyone has vision. 

Blindness is scary because a lot of people associate it with darkness, and I get that…however, I don’t really see darkness – the truth is I don’t know what I can’t see. The best way I can describe blindness is like this: try to see what’s behind your head. You can’t see it, but it’s not really darkness – it’s just not there. When I think about what life was like when I had usable eyesight, I think about that, and I ask myself, “What was I missing?” What opportunities passed me by because I just wasn’t looking for them? Those opportunities aren’t really missed because of eyesight – they are missed because of a lack of vision. Vision is imagining what could be – not seeing it.

To be clear, blindness is not easy. Everything is hard when you can’t see, from making breakfast to making my bed; but I would still take blindness over a lack of vision any day. Vision is what inspires me to face new challenges. We all experience blindness, but not everyone has vision. 

I use vision to set short- and long-term goals. I imagine myself in a race – I literally picture myself in a boat racing against my opponents. I picture the podium. I see myself with a medal around my neck. This is what keeps me going as an athlete and a person. Having vision is everything.

So, have you abandoned vision? Are you blind? I think a lot of people are – because I often speak with people who sound intelligent, creative, capable – but then I hear they are dissatisfied with life. I don’t believe in quick fixes, nor do I fantasize that someone reading this will suddenly turn it around. It took me years to adapt to life without sight, and I still have days when I think I can’t face those first steps out of my home. But I do believe most people are not living to their potential. And I think that is a kind of blindness. 

If you want to improve your sight, I am sure there are many things you can do, but if you want to improve your life you need to improve your vision. And you need to cherish it.

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