Appreciating what’s in front of you

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Every headache is a potential brain tumor and each new freckle might be malignant melanoma—this is how my brain works.

I don’t run to the doctor over every ache and bump but I’m quick to climb the crazy tree with my good friend “what-if.” I'll scale that tree with amazing speed, although it’s not too hard to talk me back down, especially if you have booze or chocolate.

I went to the optometrist last month. I was behind on my regular screening but that’s not why I went. I’ve been struggling to see. Think fun, yoga-inspired poses when craning to see my monitor.  Think embarrassingly huge default fonts. Think squinting and struggling with the small print on the instant rice box. This turned in to:

“OMG, I’m going blind…”

I know I stress over dumb stuff. It didn’t help that a non profit group supporting people losing their eyesight just launched a massive ad campaign. Every time I turn on my car radio I heard:

How do you tell your loved ones you’re going blind? We can help…”

During the two-week wait for my eye my appointment I started looking at stuff I’ve always taken for granted. Melodramatic me took time to appreciate green grass, blue skies, the nuances of people’s faces and, I’m not gonna lie, all the cool stuff on Google.

I started thinking about how terrible it would be not to see my kid’s faces (which really means seeing if they’re trying to pull a fast one based on non verbals). All the stuff I like requires sight.  How would I read? Is there Braille for Kindle? OMG, no more Twitter? I’d have to rely on someone to give me a play-by-play to enjoy television. Would I still like Breaking Bad if I couldn’t see Walter’s tighty whities? Would Game of Thrones be the same if I couldn’t watch the little pop-up kingdoms in the opening credits?

How to see what's in front of you|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals|Motherhood|Parenting ideas|Parenting inspiration|

I know this all sounds extreme which is why I almost never tell people when I suspect tumors or melanoma. I know I’m an over-reactor. You’d think that might stop me from over-reacting in the first place, but sadly, it doesn’t.

So, probably no surprise, I’m not going blind. My eyes are getting old, along with the rest of me and I need new glasses. I am happy to report I’m glaucoma-free. My optic nerve looks fabulous and no one mentioned trifocals, cataracts or a medical marijuana card.

You might wonder where I’m going with all of this. The point of exposing my underbelly of overreacting is this:

Start appreciating what you have. Start right now. Find joy in the simple things in front of you, whether that be mischief in the eyes of a child or the colors of a fall leaf. The things we see around us are awesome but sometimes we have to make an effort to start looking for them.

I had a two-week period when I no-shit worried I was going blind. You can roll your eyes at my overreacting, but I really feared not being able to look at things that made me happy. I was panicking and kicking myself for not taking the time to properly appreciate what I had in front of me.

I worried over nothing, no surprise there. That little bit (okay, a lot) of short-term anxiety caused me to slow down a little bit and start savoring things that make me happy.

I’m not trying to suggest life is rosy all the time but I am saying looking for the good is more than acknowledging the bad. It shouldn’t take a moment of panic to motivate us to start appreciating the things in front of us.

Learning to appreciate what's in front of you|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals|quotes|inspirational quotes|motherhood|parenting ideas|Parenting tips||@JillinIL|

Travel through life and enjoy it. Start right now. And, don’t wait three years between visits to the eye doctor—that’s just dumb. Appreciating what's in front of you…that's what it's all about.

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  1. Your underbelly is much like mine…

    Oh so many times I have had the fear of something being much bigger than it was. I get it. I get you!

    I love the message of this post. Savor every moment. YES!

  2. I worry like this ALL. THE. TIME. I just had my physical this morning and although I felt good going in, I’m now paranoid. Because of my age – I now have a how slew of tests I need to endure that I was unaware of – and she mentioned cancer three times – three times. And I have not symptoms, and feel relatively good. But because of my AGE, UI now must be screened. Ugh. Can I get a Zanax before my next physical? And don’t’ get me started on the disclaimer they read me before my flu shot.

  3. Funny, but not funny. I do the same thing sometimes. (I blame it on the internet & WebMd!) I’m glad you’re not going blind and that you were able to glean something positive from the panic. It is advice we could all stand to remember!

  4. I’m a total worrier, so I get it! Your message is such a powerful and important one, and makes me think a little different about my worrying. Maybe it’s a bit of a blessing in disguise to make you truly appreciate what’s right there with you in the moment. Great, positive thinking!

  5. Such a great message. For me, having a child who is exploring the world for the first time has allowed me to experience the joy in the simple, everyday things again. We all need the advice to appreciate what we have. Thanks for the reminder and positive outlook!

  6. I had laser surgery 15 years ago afraid or the first 2 days I was so worried that I’d never see again as I couldn’t see at all. Eyesight is precious and should not be taken for granted.

    I need to make an appointment for me (I think I’m on the road to bifocals-the directions on the sides of boxes are too small, I can’t use black thread to darn socks after dusk, and my phone text seems too small) and the kids.

    This middle age stuff is for the birds!
    Have a great week!

  7. It’s so difficult not to let our minds overreact, especially with so much information at the touch of a button. Self-diagnosis is too easy. I’m happy you just needed new glasses–welcome to my world! My arms aren’t long enough for me to read anything small. 🙂

  8. Eye sight is something I think most of us take for granted! I had LASIK done a few years ago, and while I was waiting for the procedure, I played the game of “what if the surgery goes wrong and I go blind?”. I totally relate to the panic. Glad your eyes are good 🙂