So if you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I don’t usually do shout-outs to individual people in my life, but today calls for an exception…I’ll explain. This morning I bumped into my cousin on the train. Now I am not a morning person in the slightest; I’m that person who wears a DO NOT DISTURB sign on their forehead until at least 10.30am. But being the person that he is, he somehow managed to alter my usual demeanour and coaxed me into chatting non-stop for the entire duration of the journey until we reached London. And after we went our separate ways I knew that I had to write this post!
My cousin is about 7 years older than me and has always lived around 10/15 minutes down the road. Now I’m not embarrassed to admit that when I was younger I used to wish that I could swap one of my sisters with him so that I could finally get the big brother that I never had…ok in retrospect that was probably a bit harsh on my sisters, but ah well I’m just being honest. It’s just that in my eyes he always seemed to be so, for the lack of a better word, COOL. I’d even go as far as pretending to dial his number and have imaginary phone conversations with him, pressing the computer mouse to my ear as a mock mobile phone (so sad I know, but I was only about four or five years old at the time, cut me some slack!) I guess because unlike everyone else he talked to me like I was a grown-up, not like the baby of the family and nobody else really took that approach with me back then. So it’s safe to say that he’s always been one of my favourites in the family.
He’s just one of those people who effortlessly exudes feel-good vibes wherever he goes. Someone who I feel was born to be a motivational speaker for the masses. He’s like a wise old wizard trapped in a young man’s body! And he can hold a conversation with absolutely anyone, from any age group, any background and any social standing or religion: he’s got the gift of the gab big time! And not to mention he’s always got a massive grin plastered across his face 😀
Now one teeny tiny detail that I forgot to mention is that my cousin is almost completely blind.
Yes, he’s that guy who walks the streets with a luminous leash in one hand for his guide dog and a white cane in the other to feel out any obstacles in his surroundings. He’s been gradually losing his sight ever since he was a child and before he hits middle age, there’s no doubt about it, he’ll be completely blind. Plus there’s absolutely no chance of doctors developing a cure in his lifetime. But honest to God, if you met him you’d think that he was the happiest, luckiest guy on the planet!
He’s just so far from being a self-pitying Debbie Downer; he always sees the glass as half full. And he hates for anyone to make a fuss over him. Most of the time he likes to be left to his own devices because he’s an independent and self-sufficient guy. But at the same time he’s more than willing to drop his pride and ask for help when he really needs it, which is one of the many things that we all love and respect about him.
He also holds down a full-time job at the Royal National Institute of Blind People in London. Travelling all around the UK he gets to meet people who have recently lost their sight in their adult years. He motivates them to pick themselves back up and believe that they still have a reason to carry on in spite of their loss of sight, plus he specialises in teaching them how they can still use technological devices such as mobile phones, iPads and laptops.
And it’s clear that he thrives off of what he does. Making a connection with even just one of his students makes his smile even wider because he’s been in their shoes (he’s in their shoes!) and so he understands them. He just wants to help as many people as he can and influence their lives in a positive way and I rate him so highly for that.
In addition to his awesome personality and thriving career he’s been in a happy stable relationship for the past few years with a lovely girl who is also blind, but against all odds somehow they manage to make it work! And I have to say that seeing photos of them going for walks with their black and beige guide dogs makes me feel so happy and proud of him because he genuinely deserves to have everything in life.
Now even though I could carry on for a few more paragraphs gushing about how much of a special person my cousin is, I’ll try to wrap this up! I guess to put it plainly and simply he’s more than just my cousin, he’s an absolute legend 😀