Losing most of the power of one's hands and feet has prompted me to think about the nature of mobility. Loss has been a significant part of my experience, but my discoveries have not overwhelmingly been of grief.
Free your mind and your ass will follow
Like all forms of freedom, mobility is to be enjoyed as much in the mind as in the body. The feeling of being able to do something is as enjoyable as the actual doing. The liberation people feel when on holiday doesn’t comes from finally having time to fix the fridge, the leaking toilet or the latest Microsoft operating system, but from being free to do whatever you want (which is often nothing at all...)
This mental dimension of mobility highlights the problem of prejudice. Prejudice: those premature judgments that arbitrarily constrict us.
The founding fathers of science proposed that we abandon the authority of the past and join a quest to discover new possibilities. They were aware of the poisonous forces of habit and convention. New minds that were dedicated to open enquiry and experimentation were required to bring the world into the light. Of course, the story is not over and each of us is still engaged in the struggle for mobility of mind.
All our known disabilities are left behind when we embark on the great journey of discovering our unknown abilities. With the thought demanded by a blocked ordinary path we can often find a better extraordinary path.
The internet saved my life
The internet is one of the practical outcomes of people opening their thinking, and thankfully for me, arrived just when I started having trouble getting about. Without leaving my chair, I can now:
- do my shopping
- make business deals
- talk with people abroad
- discuss issues on forums
- research anything.
I can also get edgy if no one emails me for a day. I've even found romance, or rather, it has found me: a beautiful woman promising to
love me longtime. All she needs is an airfare. And if it doesn't work out, there's always online dating...
Everything pointed to a stationary life, yet I move.
Unable to walk, cycle or drive very far, I assumed I would be doomed to a life of watching the grass die. Instead, I find myself speeding past shuffling queues of cars on my custom electric bike. I imagine I am like the first evolution of mammals running swiftly between the legs of giant dinosaurs rendered sluggish by their fashion of
bigger is better.
Unemployable, like the best of entrepreneurs
I couldn't see myself doing any job with my disabilities, and I was probably right. So I make up my own jobs. With the help of a business course and some government finance, I've started three (and a half) businesses, and finished two of them. But most importantly, I get the flexibility and control that I need. If you're not happy with the way other people make money for you, make it yourself.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
Unable to write or type half a page reliably, the mobility of my ideas withered. However, voice recognition technology is constantly improving thanks to better software and cheaper hardware. I may yet be a writer!