Independence, Sunglasses & Daylight
Our understanding of independence is a meaty affair for sure. The ability to stand on one’s own and manage one’s life. That’s independence. True enough.
That said, I know folks who use wheelchairs, communication devices, and other forms of assistive technology. According to the World Health Organizations (WHO) website, “Assistive technology enables and promotes inclusion and participation, especially of persons with disability, aging populations, and people with non-communicable diseases. The primary purpose of assistive products is to maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, thereby promoting their well-being.”
Some will say they feel less independent because they use a wheelchair, communication device, take seizure meds, and so on.
Daylight tells us this is not so. Watch. Independence is your ability to manage life, whatever it puts on the table. If you go outside and the sun is way too bright for your eyes without your sunglasses. So, you wear sunglasses. I do. Does this mean I’m less independent? No! Not even in the same ballpark as “less independent.” In fact, it’s the other way around. By wearing sunglasses and can enjoy the daylight. The bright sun is real enough, there is no reason to give it so much decision-making power it stops me from going outside. Rubbish.
Thousands of folks wear reading glasses when they read. None have ever finish a book and think, “Ah, hell; I wish I’d read that book independently.”
My closest friend on the planet lost both his legs, above the knee, in Vietnam. By using the wheelchair, he gets his mobility back, and the loss of his legs loses its ability to stop him.
Much of what I’ve shared with you here, I’ve learned from him. It’s getting cold now. When I go out in cold weather, I wear a winter coat. I’ll be damned if I’ll give control to the cold. I like my independence too much.