Here comes some talk about “thinking positive” that is often so hard to do…bear with me.
My cochlear implant journey is far from over and it is continuing to improve. I’ve heard it compared with a fine wine, constantly improving with time. Now I just intend to work on small things here and there, and continue to challenge myself by putting myself in tough hearing situations like noisy restaurants and group discussion settings.
We are all about instant gratification, and we often get it through constant connection to technology via tablets smartphones, etc. One of the biggest misconceptions with the cochlear implant is that is provides instant hearing. Some people are activated and can hear voices and environmental sounds right off the bat. Others, like me, only hear beeps. It is an individual thing, but every CI recipient has to practice to hear better. It took me a year to really start reaping the benefits from my CI. Some of the most rewarding things in life take longer to achieve.
Hearing, like any other body part is often taken for granted. We don’t think about it really until it doesn’t work. Then when it doesn’t work properly, we have to work hard to train it to do whatever duty that it should do automatically. It is an exhausting process, but it is important to celebrate the small milestones along the way, hearing on the phone, hearing music, etc.
And how does this apply to other parts of my life?
It is empowering to know that I can achieve something that looked nearly impossible a year ago. Now, I have the time and resources to apply that energy and passion to other areas such as finding the right job for me, getting more involved in the community, and exploring hobbies that I enjoy in more depth. Writing for this blog is included in that list. I want to travel and explore places I’ve always wanted to go to, learn how to cook better, take a photography class, and work on improving my writing skills, just to name a few.
I was listening to a webinar hosted by American Libraries last week that gave some valuable tips on how to approach the job search. It is still a tough market to get into, and for people with disabilities, additional challenges can make it even harder. But it can be done.
The biggest thing I took from that webinar was: focus on quality rather than quantity. Allow enough time to network and engage in professional development. There are a lot of online networking opportunities, and I’m even seeing more virtual conferences popping up. For those who want to take continuing education classes, there is a website called Coursera that offers FREE online courses from many universities around the world. I write that with one disclaimer: I don’t not know how fully accessible Coursera is. Anyone who uses a screen reader want to take a shot at it and report back?
The opportunities are there. You just have to look for them. It is way too easy to be negative and think about what we can’t do. Turn it around and think about the challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them, and apply that to other interests or passions you might have. Celebrate the small victories and before long, they’ll lead to the overall bigger goal.