Hello. This is Today Calling.
November 18, 2013
by Kate Morell
I am not paying much attention as I sit with my family watching a movie.
My mind is wandering, as it usually does.
Planning. Plotting. Scheming. Pondering.
I really must learn to be mindful, and live in the moment. Be present.
I know that, I know I should, but I am lost. The year is coming to an end, and, well, what have I done?
‘What to do? What to do?’ I plan, plot, scheme and ponder.
Then I hear a voice.
Loud and clear, drowning out the sound of my own voice in my head.
It was Chet. A snail. Asking Turbo, another snail, a question.
Although it really did seem as though he was directing the question to me.
“What happens if you wake up tomorrow and your powers are gone, huh?”
‘Huh? Me? My powers? You mean my sight?’ I answer in my head. Confused.
And then Turbo casually replies, “I guess I’d better make the most of today.”
‘Hello. This is today calling.’ I imagine in my head, and I am amazed.
Here I sit, pondering what to do.
Here, my question is answered. Spoken to me, by a snail!
‘What to do?’
Well, I’d better make the most of today.
I sit with my family and continue watching the movie, and there is not one moment that I miss.
Turbo has inspired me.
I was told I would be blind by the time I turned forty, when diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa when just fifteen years old.
Back then I didn’t think too much of it.
My parents, though, were devastated.
Me? Well, just fifteen, I just didn’t think too much of it. ‘Forty is old!’ I thought.
Forty seemed a lifetime away.
‘Plenty of time’, I thought, plenty of time, though I never truly believed I would ever be totally blind. I mean, science! A decade in a science laboratory, surely it is enough time to come up with something, a cure, a treatment, anything… so why panic now?
I didn’t mope around.
I just got on with it.
Finished school. Went to university. Finished university. Got a job. Save, save, saved. Traveled. Got another job. Save, save, saved. Traveled again.
Job. Save. Travel. Repeat again and again, times four.
You get the drift.
I guess I did make the most of the days, weeks, and years.
I guess I was a little like Turbo.
But then something happened.
As I approached my fortieth birthday, by then married with two children, I panicked.
‘I am going blind. I am going blind! What am I to do?’
Something happened. It happened. My ‘turbo’ conked out.
I came to a standstill. And I couldn’t move.
In my head, it all began. The planning. The plotting. The scheming. The pondering.
All while I began the downward spiral into depression.
‘I am going blind! What SHOULD I do?’
Realizing I couldn’t work as a graphic designer if I was blind, I researched new careers, and even began studying a course I was not passionate about.
But I did this because I thought I SHOULD.
Realizing I couldn’t get around if I was blind, I trained with a white cane, not because I really couldn’t get around.
But I did this because I thought I SHOULD.
Further and further descending in a downward spiral into depression.
I wasn’t present as a wife. I wasn’t present as a mother. I wasn’t present as a friend.
All I could think about was ‘I am going blind, what should I do?’
What I thought I SHOULD do.
Forty. My birthday.
Hip, hip hooray!
I hit rock bottom when I hit forty.
That day when I supposedly would be totally blind.
I had to laugh.
Legally blind, yes. But totally? Far from it.
I could still see.
I could still get around.
I could still be who I always was.
A wife. A mother. A friend.
Even a designer, too. One who trips and stumbles. Yes.
And then, I had an overwhelming sense of relief.
‘What if I hadn’t had an attitude like Turbo?’
‘What if I had wasted the last twenty five years, moping around, waiting for this day to come, with dread?’
Oh, it is such a relief.
Science has not quite come as far as I thought it might.
But, my goodness, it has come pretty close.
And, wait! I am not totally blind. I have not quite come as far as the doctor thought I might. There are still a few years for me.
And, maybe science will get there in time
As Turbo said, ‘no dream is too big, and no dreamer is too small.’
No longer am I obsessed with going blind.
Lately I have been obsessed with the question, ‘what would I miss?’
What would I miss when I can no longer see?
What would Turbo do, to make the most of today?
The list is endless.
What is it that you would miss if you could no longer see?
I know what I would miss.
I know what I now SHOULD be doing.
Design and illustrate. Take photos.
Run. Swim. Ride a bike.
Teach my daughter as I cook, sew and knit.
Watch the sunrise, remembering that voice.
‘Hello. This is today calling.’
Watch the sunset.
Marvel at the colors.
Today. Be thankful for today.
And take in every moment with my family. Every single moment.
I vow never again to be living tomorrow before today.
I will be present. Today.
I will practice mindfulness. Today.
Today is calling.
And today I will do all the things I can do.
Not worry about the things I cannot do.
Today I will do all the things I want to do.
For today, well, I’d better make the most of today.