Blind man’s lead

I had just moved to Winnipeg, Canada, and the Internet connection at my apartment had yet to be installed, so I was on my way to a nearby café to get online and do some work.

Halfway there, I suddenly wondered if I had remembered to take my wallet and stopped to check my backpack. At that instant I felt a blow against my ankle, and I spun around to see who was “attacking” me.

Imagine my surprise when I was met by a pleasant-faced blind man, white cane in hand, apologizing profusely. Under these circumstances, it was hard to be angry. The man said a few more words and continued down the street.

I had forgotten my wallet and went back to my apartment to retrieve it. On my way, I reflected on this odd little encounter. It wasn’t the part where I got rapped on the ankle that had left an impression, but the image of this blind man striding confidently down the street.

I started thinking about my own life and current situation. I had recently moved to a new city, away from all my close friends and the colleagues I’d worked with for years and was still learning my way around. I needed to find a new job, but wasn’t even sure what sort of job I wanted. I also needed to make several other related timely decisions. Could I manage both work and university? If not, which should I focus on? What should my financial priorities be? And how could I sync those with my long-term goals? On some questions, I didn’t even know where to start.

Being at the beginning of something new was exciting but also unsettling. Questions seemed to be more plentiful than answers.

In my mind’s eye, I saw the blind man navigating the streets of downtown Winnipeg, unable to see where he was going, but going nonetheless—and doing so with confidence. If he can figure it out and find his way around, I told myself, I can too!