Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Year

This is a photo taken during my first Christmas in my condo in 2007, I am sitting in front of the Christmas tree with Bill's dog, Cyril.

Well another year has begun and I thought I would review some of the events that occurred during 2013 along with thoughts and hopes for 2014.

Probably one of the most constructive and beneficial accomplishments of 2013 was my joining the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's gym for persons with disabilities. It will be a year in February that I have been going to RIC and although I have mentioned it before, it warrants repeating. I have met a lot of interesting people at RIC and most importantly those people have taught me just how lucky I am. There are so many others whose  physical limitations are much more pronounced than are mine and it has made me rethink how unrestricted I actually am compared to some of the other patrons at RIC.

The above realizations coupled with being physically back in a gym, make me a happier person. There are a lot of exercises that I can do at RIC that I was not able to do at home because I lack the proper equipment and RIC offers a free personal assistant on the gym floor to assist patrons with all aspects of working out.

Another accomplishment I am proud to have completed was staining the rooftop deck of my condo building. This was a project that desperately needed to be done and I am happy to report I was able to do almost the entire  thing by myself. I did enlist the help of my friend Brian to do the areas I was not physically capable of reaching. This was an opportunity for me to make some money and at the same time show everyone including myself that there are jobs I am still capable of doing.

I had my balcony elevated so that I can now get out onto the balcony with a minimum of effort and enjoy weeding and watering my own flowers, something I had greatly missed doing for the past five years.

Through much trial, error and drama I finally managed to find a suitable roommate. One would think that finding a roommate would be a somewhat easy thing to do, however this did not prove to be the case. After my first roommate got ill and went back to live in his home state, I found another roommate who ended up being a drug addicted, alcoholic, mentally unstable individual. Upon his forced removal I finally managed to find a law student named Charles. He and I have been roommates for seven months and things are going well between he and I. Charles will continue to be my roommate until at least July, perhaps and hopefully longer.

Over the past year I have not driven my car very much, mostly because it is in need of repair and I have let the city sticker, license plates and insurance expire. I am going to rectify that situation this year, I feel I have become too dependent on my assistant for rides and such. The main reason is of course lack of sufficient funds, but I have a tentative plan.

If all goes according to my plan, I would like to paint the two hallways of my condo building this year. I have already spoken to the board president about this and am currently trying to figure out who can help me reach those areas that I cannot reach by myself. I have spoken to my nephew, Jeremiah about assisting me, however I do not know for sure if he will be able to help me.

I plan on using that money to get all the car stuff done so that instead of having my assistant drive me to the RIC gym in his car, I will drive my car and he will drive it back home. I miss driving and I particularly miss the independence that driving your own car gives a person. When you are disabled you already have had to give up many of the freedoms that able bodied persons take for granted. It is important to me to hang onto as many freedoms as I can and maintain as much autonomy as possible.

I am also going to investigate the possibility of doing some type of computer work at home to supplement my income. I completed four paintings in the last year and am currently working on a fifth, along with numerous personally painted greeting cards for friends and family.

I kind of got a little lazy with this blog this past  year, sometimes only writing one post in an entire month, I am going to be writing more this year than last. I guess one could say I ran into a writer's block or something, or perhaps that is just an excuse writers use because they were not motivated or were simply being lazy.

I read something recently that reminded me that we as individuals, whether disabled or able bodied, sometimes put ourselves down. This can come in many forms from making statements to others about ourselves or even thinking and saying negative things to ourselves about ourselves; this is something I am going make a conscientious effort to curtail and hopefully eliminate. We have all heard of self fulfilling prophecy and if we are not careful about what we say and think about ourselves we can inadvertently set ourselves up for failure and unhappiness.

On that note I will close by saying that last year was a good year with more accomplishments than failures and I am looking forward to a good year in 2014. I think as I push forward in my journey that I am growing as a person, ever closer to being the best person I can be.

I wish all of you, my readers, a smooth path on which to walk, roll or whatever, bringing you closer to your life mission, closer to God and closer to each other.

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