A Shift in Focus

A hot morning along the River Nile in Aswan
A hot morning along the River Nile in Aswan, EGYPT

When I returned home in 2006 from nearly ten years in the Middle East and a lifetime of teaching overseas before that, my focus was still in travel mode. I had a lot of trouble separating my traveling persona from my everyday person and settling into small town life. My father had recently passed away and I missed him terribly so my writing (not then taken to the blogways) focused on my travels, re-adapting to life in a small town, my father and my faith, which was a constant.

A few years later in 2009, I started my first blog called Writings from Amy’s Wood Loft . Looking back, it was really just a place to hang my writing as I didn’t introduce myself and had no specific audience.  I simply started posting my writing taken from what I do on the church bulletin, family or home. In the world of blogging, I now see how unfocused it was.  But blogging was a big step in my writing. Of course, I rarely received any comments but I tried to develop a consistent habit of writing. I was moving forward! 

In 2010, I developed my website with its own blog. Consequently,  I abandoned my first blog and started posting on my website. Interestingly enough, my first post (September 2010) was called “Beams and Blindness.”  That Spring I went through Orientation and Mobility Training with a blind instructor–simply put, learning to use my mobility cane. With that post, I took my first steps in publicly accepting myself as a vision-impaired individual.

With the A to Z Challenge, I focused on a different overseas adventure each day, but for the most part, my writing started to shift. On February 26,  2014, I blogged the entry, “My story with RP,” and it was no longer a secret. My vision loss had a name my readers could attach to it. After that, I started sharing more about my vision loss and what everyday life was like. My memoir (Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith) came out on October 14, 2014.

Publishing my memoir catapulted me to a new level of awareness of choices available for those with vision loss.  I met other vision-impaired and blind people. Before that, I felt alone but now I was part of a team. I realized losing my vision wasn’t a life sentence and I didn’t have to sneakily hide that I couldn’t see.

My life with or without vision loss would be what I made it. Boy, did that thought free me! I didn’t have a choice about what I could see but I had a choice about how I responded to it.

I slowly began speaking to groups about vision loss, accepting this was now part of my persona as much as my travel had been earlier. My blogging took on a new lightness as I reflected on life with vision loss. Now my posts had lost the grief I had felt for so long. They were changing to acceptance and laughter. The basis of those blog posts make up my new memoir, Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Mobility.

I have come so far from that unfocused individual. Last year, a reader commented that my website blurb didn’t match up with my content. I couldn’t  believe it. I still saw myself as that adventure traveler. But she was right. My content was focused on educating others about blindness and managing everyday life with vision loss.

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I guess we blog about what is most prevalent in our lives. I’m glad we have periods like Blindness Awareness Month to put a spotlight on our focus. Those early days of uncertainty when I returned home from the Middle East and floundered, not knowing how to fit in the small town where I grew up in had to take their course. The bridge came, strangely enough, with facing my vision loss.  Although it sounds like an oxymoron, my poor vision placed me on firmer footing. My niche for now is vision loss.  My writing is honed and focused.

I realize it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Humans are multi-faceted with many interests. But just as the wind of change blew my faluka off course along the River Nile in Upper Egypt in the Nubian village, it has now blown me to my current focus, shining the light on vision loss.

 

Have you ever noticed a grand shift in your focus? What did it change from and what did it change to?

You have just read,  “Change of Focus,” by Amy L. Bovaird © October 2, 1016. Please take a moment to leave a comment!

A Shift in Focus
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12 thoughts on “A Shift in Focus

  • October 2, 2016 at 6:23 pm
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    We have shifted as needed to fulfill the mission of performing for people. We’ve learned so much from each situation we’ve been in. And each one builds upon the former. We have grown and learned so much in these past years!
    I sense a shift coming, but don’t know for sure what it is. We spend much time in prayer — praise of our Father for who He is and what He’s done through us already, and gratefulness for the same. We pray for wisdom and guidance and signs to move us along to the next path. I’m excited for it — whatever it is!!!
    I’m glad you’ve found focus and a place in your town!

  • October 2, 2016 at 6:42 pm
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    Hi Melissa,
    Yes, we’ve talked about that shift. It’s exciting to follow it and see where it goes.
    Being friends with you and Larry has helped me focus on relationships, courage and following through on various goals.
    It’s been a wonderful experience!
    Amy

  • October 4, 2016 at 12:56 am
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    I have impaired vision from years of MS. I find that the accommodations I have had to make at almost every turn for more than forty years keeps me flexible. I realized many years ago perfection was a thing of the past. Always grateful to have another day. Another chance. Love your posts, Amy.

  • October 4, 2016 at 1:01 am
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    Thanks, Amy. I am not savvy enough to link your posts in mine. If you can tell me how, I will do it.
    That new roof started a cascade of events that is going to change the rest of our lives!
    Again, a shift in focus. Can’t let on quite yet but soon.

  • October 4, 2016 at 1:57 am
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    Hi Kate,
    I’m so excited to hear that roof is such a blessing to you! I’ll be looking for your updates to find out how it’s shifted your focus! I’m happy to read this response and my spirit is flying for you!
    Amy

  • October 4, 2016 at 2:01 am
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    Wow! I have to print your response out. It’s so profound!
    “I find that the accommodations I have had to make at almost every turn for more than forty years keeps me flexible.” I have never read it described that way before … what an attitude! I love your outlook! I’m going to put that on my computer.
    Love YOU, Kate! God bless!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.
    Amy

  • October 4, 2016 at 5:12 am
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    Hi Amy,
    Thank you for dropping by my blog and commenting. 🙂
    My shift in focus recently has been from yearning for a better job to mental peace. No money or a big company could help do that. And I am happy being at peace with myself. Also with the politics at workplace I stopped giving back I forgave for my mental peace.
    I am glad you have shifted focus and solace. 🙂

  • October 4, 2016 at 3:42 pm
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    Hi Ramya,
    Oh my goodness, your poem was POWERFUL!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog to read and leave a comment.
    I agree that being at peace is important because that impacts how we view everything else in our lives.
    I’ll be on the lookout for more of your writing.
    Amy

  • October 4, 2016 at 10:41 pm
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    I started blogging about my writing journey and still do, but as I’ve grown as a writer my interests have developed. I have different blogs for different parts of my life, all getting as much attention as I can give them.

    Vision loss is a topic in our house but for a different reason. My husband worked in optics before we moved (and may still go back into it). He has a deep interest in low vision issues, because he wants to help others find a way to cope with it in their lives.

  • October 5, 2016 at 12:52 am
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    Hi Alexandria,
    I remember you from last year! Great to hear from you!
    That’s a really good idea to have different blogs for various areas of your life. I think one of them used to be how to make money from affiliate sites or something, if I recall correctly. Something along those lines!
    That is so interesting that your husband worked in optics. We do need people who have deep concern for low vision and ways for us to cope.
    Nice to hear that!
    Amy

  • October 5, 2016 at 10:30 pm
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    Hi Amy,

    I’ve been a little MIA in groups this last year or so, so I’m surprised anyone remembers me 🙂 One of my blogs is one writing and making a living through it. Affiliate marketing definitely crops up from time to time.
    Alexandria

  • October 6, 2016 at 1:23 am
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    Hi Alexandria,
    I quit blogging for six months to finish my book. That will be released next month so I’m excited and back to blogging just this week. So I’ve been a bit MIA in the blogosphere as well. I remember both of your blogs, but I remember the affiliates one more. Cool!
    Amy

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