What is success?



Many  people would answer this with a purely material, financial accolade, some who have come face to face with health issues and deaths to people close to them may say having your health, a happy relationship and a home is success.

Driving into work today, I gave way to an elderly lady crossing the road holding the hand of her approximately 40 year old son.  She had a gentle look to her and her son, was concentrating hard as he was crossing, brows furrowed and lips drawn, cheeks ruddy and eyes with that particular slant.  I was transported back a few years to the glorious story of a Down Syndrome man arriving for an eye test.

Having had bad eyes all my life, I know just how threatening an eye test can seem.  You are on the back foot before you start.  You can’t see, you know you can’t.  The very first thing they do, is take away your glasses or contact lenses and tell you to relax and answer the simple questions…..oh my god, my heart starts racing, my hands get clammy, what if my eyes are worse, flip, was red brighter than green, go back, mmmm, no green, what does it mean if I saw red better?  Then follows a series of  clicking as they seem to add and subtract all sorts of glass until you feel like you are encased in a bullet proof zone with your chin stuck on a white piece of paper, your arms don’t really know where they are supposed to hang, and in the little lens, the Optometrist’s eye seems huge gazing back at you.  To top all this off, is the infamous chart on the wall with teeny weeny little letters of the alphabet, with only the top and the first two maybe discernible.  So this is my angst, please think of this beautiful man I shall call Bob.

Bob too is an older man, his routine has been completely changed by having to go and have his eyes tested.  He should be having lunch now and things have all been changed. He is clammy and moving from foot to foot, he cannot bear to sit down in the waiting area.  He is flushed and agitated.  Out waltzes the Optometrist and ushers him in.  In my mind, from experience I see Bob being hoisted into the chair.  Bob is very anxious, he has glanced at the chart, his chin is propped on the white paper, he cannot stop wriggling and loudly making it known that he has had to miss lunch, and it is sausage and mash day!  The clicking of the different lenses starts, the questions start, “better with red, or green?”  “Look again, red or green? ” Bob likes this question…..”GREEN”, he shouts.  Great start.  “Is the circle on the inside moving or still ?”……..he likes this one too…….MOVING” he shouts joyously. Suddenly up pops the alphabet, Bob stiffens, and luckily our Optometrist reacts like the professional he is and slides in the picture slides.

Well before our Professional had a chance to ask a single question, Bob leaned into the frame harder, his face red with effort……”CAR,”  “DOG,” “AEROPLANE”, “CAT” he shouted out with glee.

This my friends, is success.  To have ended a test on top of your game.

Bob marched out a happy man even though he had missed his Thursday sausage and mash lunch.





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