The Pursuit of Hobbies As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired
by Shannon Carollo
Oh how I wish we were sitting across from each other, enjoying Gerry Leary's perfectly roasted coffee. I would ask about your hobbies, how you love spending your time. I would ask about your hobby-related goals that really energize you—maybe finishing reading or writing a book-chapter by bedtime, increasing your running pace, completing an artistic or building project, adding to a collection, volunteering for an hour on a weekly basis, planting new bulbs, acting in a local play, composing a song, entertaining neighbors for dinner, refurbishing an old desk, increasing your bench-press strength, finishing a television series, or pressing your own wine.
I’d like to know your tricks and tips for making your hobby accessible to you, a person who is blind or visually impaired. I bet your ingenuity would teach me a thing or two, and I bet it would inspire others (with and without visual impairments) to continue creating, composing, entertaining, refurbishing, volunteering, adding, planning, exercising, pressing, or finishing.
Yes, I’d like to see your work; your skills; your expertise.
But if you’d respond, “Shannon, after losing my vision I haven’t picked back up my hobby” or “I’ve never actually found activities I love. Maybe if I was fully sighted…,” I’d direct you to AFB CareerConnect's Our Stories: Hobbies and Recreations section. I’d encourage you to read through the accounts of individuals with visual impairments who pursue a variety of pastimes, adventures, and interests. I guarantee you’ll be inspired and entertained when reading. Among other narratives, you’ll get lost in the tranquility of Jessie Rayl's garden; you’ll feel your stomach drop as you read Tara Annis' skydiving experience; you’ll root for Kitty Hevener as she describes the transformation from crippling fear at her first group water-aerobics class, to pure enjoyment of water activities; and you’ll hopefully relate to Jerry Weichbrodt as he discusses gaining a sense of belonging when he joined the church choir.
As you “write your own story” of pursuing a hobby, I encourage you to ask questions and give advice along the way using AFB’s Arts, Leisure, and Recreation Message Boards.
Don't let a visual impairment steal the joy of engaging and flourishing in a new or longstanding hobby. You will find satisfaction and entertainment while participating, and you'll reap work-related benefits of pursing hobbies.
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