Motivation is everything as a person adapts to a life with diminished vision. It takes motivation to find low vision aids in the first place. It takes still further motivation to explore and acquire the right tools to help you do what you want to do.

Once equipped with tools, you learn a new way to do things, to see things, and you practice every day. You get very good at your tasks. That sense of accomplishment brings pleasure, even pride. Motivation fuels the drive along the road to enjoying your life again.

Ken and I observe motivation at work week after week as we meet new people and visit with those we’ve known for a decade or more.

While my early motivation was driven by panic and the desire to stay at my job, the majority of our customers are motivated by their determination to remain active and independent in their homes.

I have to tell you about a beloved customer. We first met her when she was 95. My notes back then are telling. I wrote that she was really funny, lived alone, and was very motivated to get help so she could stay that way. We sold her a desktop magnifier and took it over to her house to set it up and teach her how to use it. We became fast friends and she calls in every couple of years to tell us how she was doing and maybe ask a question.

This memorable woman lives in the inland northwestern town where she grew up, and she lives in her home of more than 50 years. She called us a month ago, having decided to celebrate her 103rd birthday next month by buying a new reading machine. The one she has had for nearly eight years has been her lifeline, she told me, and she cannot imagine life without it.

She was still funny, still independent, and strongly motivated. Ken and I looked forward to seeing her again. We left about an hour later!

When we arrived on what was likely that last great day of fall foliage, she was doing her laundry. She had also just dropped a stitch on her knitting, so we waited, watching in fascination, as this soon to be 103 year-old deftly worked with her crochet hook and afghan under the reading machine, eyes focused on the magnified screen image of her project. Like I do many times a week (she and I share the knitting bug), she got the magnification to just where she wanted it and then grabbed and reset that errant stitch.

The story to me is a story of hope, of great will, and of the awe-inspiring human drive to live a full life. This spunky gal will inspire me always– and make me grateful that this odd journey of my own has brought my path across hers.