"So, what now, Chris?"
Today I begin a new chapter in my life, as I leave the company where I have worked for the last 10 years. I am not yet ready to call this, "retirement," but I have little doubt that the path forward will be very different. My therapist has encouraged me to take some time and sit in the uncomfortable space of uncertainty. "The right path will reveal itself in time," he tells me. It sounds excruciating to me but, I intend to give it a try. I will, however, take this opportunity to complete the memoir I have been working on, part-time, for the last three years.
Seeing Clearly, is about my journey with macular degeneration, a chronic and progressive disease that is a leading cause of visual impairment, affecting 11 million people in just the United States. Over the eight years since my diagnosis, I have seen my central vision slip away, leaving me with little more than my hazy peripheral vision. I no longer drive, faces are blurry, and eating a salad can be a source of great entertainment for the people around me. It has been difficult for me to talk about my visual impairment out of a fear of vulnerability, a word that I have seen as synonymous with, “weak,” for most of my life.
The experience has taught me so much about myself that it has literally and figuratively changed the way I see the world. For that reason, I cannot help but see it as a gift. It wasn't a gift I asked for but, like the change in my employment status, it was one I needed.
I am on my third, and hopefully final, draft of the book. It is so close! Early next year I will begin to take a serious look at publishing it. Whether I end up publishing it or just stuffing it in a drawer is almost immaterial. I just need to finally get to, "The End."
So, for those of you who have asked, "What are you going to do now, Chris," there is the answer.