With Thanksgiving right around the corner, November has become the month for gratitude. Sharing a great meal with family and friends is an ideal way to find some perspective and be thankful for all that we have been blessed with in life. In my line of work, I come across a great many people who, understandably, have trouble finding that perspective during the other 11 months of the year. For many, the reality of declining vision tends to cast a dark shadow on our thoughts. It is just so easy to get caught up in the sadness and self-pity of knowing things aren’t as they once were. Or to get preoccupied with the fear of the future, wondering whether your eyes will stabilize or continue to decline and how you will adjust to these changes.
I believe for all people, and especially for those suffering vision loss, it can be extremely challenging to focus on what’s good in life. My wish for everyone this season is to be able to take the spirit of Thanksgiving gratitude and carry it with you year round. When your mind is invaded with negativity, focus on all you have been blessed with. Set attainable goals. Pursue new hobbies. Touch base with a loved one. Do something for yourself. Or better yet, do something for someone else without expecting anything in return. And, most importantly, remind yourself that self-pity is a choice – a choice that always results in pain and suffering. When you are feeling particularly down, make a conscious effort to redirect your thoughts and activities to something rewarding and productive that will remind you of all you have been blessed with. Keep an eye out for opportunities to be of service for others, which will not only skyrocket your feelings of gratitude but it will fill you with inner happiness. A simple change in attitude can make you feel like it’s Thanksgiving all year round.