Different Spokes

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Lucky to be alive doesn't mean life is always easy...


Dan and Chris use wheelchairs. They're lucky to be alive. They could have been more severely disabled, and both avoided mental disabilities.  Both have attitudes that help people look past their wheelchairs. Both don't mind where they are in life, and know that without a disability, life could be very different.

But please don't confuse gratefulness, optimism, and determination, for easy. Different Spokes makes a point of keeping a positive attitude. We don't want pity, apologies, sympathy, or praise for being who we are. We also don't want you to tell us we're lucky.

It's true that we could be much worse off. Dan avoided having a shunt in his brain like many with Spina Bifida. Chris was given a shorter lease on life, one that he's already passed. Both went to college and had experiences and relationships that they wouldn't have encountered had they been able-bodied and had different choices in life. But does that really mean they're lucky?

Is it lucky to both be on daily medications? To rely on others instead of have the full ability to do everything yourself? To have more doctor and hospital visits than most men their age? Is it lucky to have had to think about your disability before planning to attend events and to turn down opportunities because you need somewhere accessible? What about those people 20 years ago who didn't have the ADA to help them break through boundaries. Are they lucky? Lucky enough that you should think they got the better deal because they have an instant ride on wheels? Do you really think their lives are so easy that they won't mind you treating them like a taxicab? Or an amusement park ride?

In the end, life is what it is.  Dan and Chris live theirs sitting down.  You may live yours standing up.  Neither is particularly lucky or unlucky.  Neither is tremendous, neither is terrible.  But in the end, it's the attitude that each individual brings to their particular condition that determines how that person will perceive life.  And in that case, Chris and Dan are very lucky. 



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