I’m not talking about first responders or those who willingly perform death-defying feats. Their bravery can clearly be seen. I’m talking about people who, on a daily basis, do what most people say they could never do. I’m talking about the blind, the deaf, people in wheelchairs or those with cognitive, or other challenging conditions, or even with a combination of them. They are all around you with visible and invisible differences.
Every day they get up and do what needs to be done. For some, this means dealing with life where they live. For others, it means venturing forth into the world where their “otherness” is on display. There, they must deal with a stream of small and large challenges that go unnoticed by most everyone around them.
Reading what is written on a sign, moving aside a closed door or traveling independently may not present a problem for you to overcome. But for millions of people, it is. They sometimes refer to those unchallenged by such obstacles as the “Temporarily Able Bodied” or TABs.
A TAB will often express amazement upon seeing a person with some challenge traveling independently or doing other normal things. They might say, “I couldn’t or wouldn’t be brave enough to do that”.
Not everyone with certain challenges can or will tackle the world far beyond their door. Some do so only after devoting time and effort to build skills and confidence often taught by experts. To reach their goals, some make use of technology or special equipment. For others, a service dog allows them to carry on a normal life.
Regardless if their day is spent at home, or in the wider world, dealing with and living their life in spite of what others would find a crushing weight, is why I call all these people some of the bravest among us.
And to all of you TABS, you might want to think about making the world a little easier for those dealing with some sort of challenge. Many of them were once fully able-bodied like you. Life and aging have a funny way of catching up with you and changing your perspective.