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We’re All Just Temporarily Abled

That’s a quote from Cindy Li — “We’re all just temporarily abled”. I first heard it in Sarah’s course and it’s been on repeat in my mind ever since June 6th.

June 6th I was on vacation at the beach with my family and tried something that, looking back now, maybe I’m too old for. And I injured my knee.

I knew immediately it was bad.

I laid there in the sand, unable to get up, and let the surf crash over me. After a few waves, I got on my belly dragged myself free.

Fortunately this all happened the day before we flew home, but sitting there on the beach at sunset I knew my vacation was over at that point.

That was almost three months ago now. I’m still limping. It’s getting better but it’s slow. The doctor told me, “Just be aware: this isn’t days or weeks recovery. This is months.”

Since then, I’ve tried to make the best of summer while kids are out of school but my mobility has been limited.

Through all of it, I’ve found myself noticing “accessibility” helpers more than ever before: that railing on the stairs, that ramp off to the side of the building, that elevator tucked away in the back.

All things I rarely noticed before but have since become vital.

And that phrase plays on repeat in my head — “we’re all just temporarily abled”. From my notes on Sarah’s course:

1 in 5 people currently have a disability. 100% of people will have some form of disability in their lifetime.

I suppose it’s easy to misunderstand ability as a binary thing. But now I’m understanding more how fluid it is, as it inevitably comes in and out of each of our lives — “100% of people” in their lifetimes.

In classic human fashion, it’s one of those things you take for granted until it’s gone.

(I’m taking a moment for self-reflection here.)

I know I’m privileged. My knee is healing each day, and fortunately all I have to do is sit at a desk for work.

I am more grateful now for the abilities I have, for the accessible helpers in the world I overlooked before, and for the people who make them possible.

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