I think on occasions it is human nature to think the grass maybe greener somewhere else. The truth is that life is as good as you make it , wherever and whatever that may be.
New year is a good example of thinking the grass is greener somewhere else, as I’m under the impression that everyone has a wild and exciting time, the night of the year, yet when I reflect with friends on past New Year’s Eve celebrations they are often disappointing, tiring and the event ends being lackluster . The best nights, as we continued our discussion on this topic, were intimate suppers, a glass of champagne and home to bed soon after midnight…. well maybe a little dancing but often the best nights had less expectation than New Year’s Eve glorified anticipation.
Carers can often feel excluded and isolated yet they can be enjoying the most profoundly intimate relationship of their lives which others miss out on. Sometimes ill-health and adversity brings out the best in families, friends and communities. I have witnessed the happiest of times within my environment because family and friends realise what matters in life. What I am trying to say is that as soon as I stop thinking about what everyone else is doing and concentrate on what is in-front of me I see the joy sitting in my lap.
Christmas is special for many reasons but the highlight for me is seeing family and friends together. It is a joyful time and food plays a small part although this year I over ordered on ham so there were complaints about eating ham for over a week, food may play a small part compared to people but our ham did dominate at every meal. We moved on from common complaint about the abundance of ham to an orchestrated debate on recipes for left over ham and in desperation to be rid of the ham we contemplated the pros and cons of ham curry! I still like to think that It was being together that made the event, even if we only talked about the never-ending supply of ham. Ham united us in our quest to be rid of it and I have also found that disability brings family and friends together – united in their quest to persevere.
As Christmas and the ham recede into the past for another year I thought about how much I am grateful for, yes – there is life after an injury – it’s just a different normal. I read an article today and agreed with the sentiment “it’s not the disability that makes people feel disabled — it’s the environment” Read more. Our family has been fortunate to live in Australia, a country that addresses issues for people with disabilities. Australia has Medicare, and there are systems in place that ensure basic care provision. I am grateful to our local council for relaying concrete pavements over grass verges and providing road to pathway ramps, I am grateful that Universities have departments that address people with disabilities and their requirements within the institutions. I am grateful that public transport is required to be accessible to all. I am grateful that people with disabilities are considered, they are equal members of society and it is a real crime if their living environment is the single factor that discriminates or excludes them from living completely normally. I am fully aware that some people with disabilities in other countries could view Australia as being a greener pasture.
Australia ratified the UN Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities in 2009, some countries have still to commit to these basic principles:
The principles of the present Convention:
- Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
- Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
- Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
- Equality of opportunity;
- Equality between men and women;
- Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.
The grass is greener, politically speaking, in countries that have committed and ratified to this UN Convention. There is an enormous amount to be done Worldwide for people with disabilities, advocacy is part of life if you are living with a disability.
As for us as individuals thinking the grass may be greener somewhere else…..I think that it is a delusion and a destructive delusion, everyone needs strong family and friends that positively reinforce the simple pleasures in life. There is no doubt that love and caring are the key to living well. If you love and you care – you are in the right place, no grass is greener.