I have had an eye condition since I was three years old and, by my teens I had lost the sight in my left eye. My right eye's sight was maintained with the help of clever doctors, a shed loads of eye drops and surgery. However, in 2008, that eye also decided that seeing was for losers and ducked out for about a year. I got my sight back with the help of the genius doctors at Moorfields Eye Hospital but it could go again. At any time.
Obviously, going blind was life changing. I had to adapt, physically and emotionally, to a whole new way of living. I also had to get through the trauma of losing one of my major senses and that was very much like a grieving process. I went from being a spunky 21-year-old storming around London with no clue about who she was or what she was doing, to an isolated child-like woman who couldn't or, better yet, wouldn't adapt to her new-found blindness. I was not best pleased and it did take me time to come to terms with it all. I was partying in Soho and dating a hot DJ without a care in the world and then, BOOM. All change please.
However, losing my sight wasn't just one life changing experience. Within that year a number of things happened that have shaped who I am, my perception of life today and made me realise what's important.
Georgie and her brother, Sam.
Patience. For several months I didn't know what sight I would get back, if any at all. I had to wait on doctors to try and test out medications, steroids and eventually surgeries. I would wait... and wait... and still nothing. Frustrating doesn't quite cut it. It was torture. Sadly my old tricks of stamping my feet and screaming the place down weren't going to help me now. I finally learned what it was to be truly and utterly patient. It was a test of pure endurance and that has changed me and how I approach day-to-day living. I no longer sweat the small stuff - I'm happy to queue at the post office, or take the bus when the tubes are delayed. Don't get me wrong, there are still many things that piss me off but not like it used to pre-blindness. You just don't care what people think of you as much and I discovered that some things are truly worth the wait.
Gratitude. In some twisted hand of fate, going blind made me realise just how lucky I am. I was a right old madam as a little girl. A proper stomp my feet, scream the place down little gob shite. For most of my younger years, I was mouthy, strong-willed and thought I could do whatever the hell I liked. This hasn't changed much but, after I got my sight back I was overwhelmed with a new-found gratitude. Firstly, to the doctors for getting some of my sight back. I mean, how you do really thank a person after they do what seemed impossible. I still don't know.
Secondly, my parents. I am nothing without them and everything because of them. Sure - I appreciate and loved them in my younger years, and we have always been very close, but not to the extent I do now. They not only cared for me physically but emotionally and kept me going. I would have given up in that year if it wasn't for them. For that I am forever grateful. It has secured a bond between us that is impenetrable
Comedy. I am fully aware that blindness doesn't scream massive 'lolz' but hear me out. I have a career in comedy because I went blind. Well, also because I am a hoot but that goes without saying! With the advice of my good friend Felix, I made my year of being blind into a comedy show. It went on to do rather well and I became a stand-up comedian in the process.
Now don't get me wrong, when I'm sat in Moorfields waiting room for three hours awaiting my eye fate, I sometimes do wish for two normal eyes and no comedy career but here we are, so let's make the best of a bad hand and get a few laughs out of it.
I have gone on to write blogs, film vlogs, raise awareness and all sorts for several blind and disabled charities. This has been a great privilege. More importantly though, the experience taught me to try and find the funny in the tragic, not because it necessarily will change things but it will help you along the way when times get tough.
Inevitability. I will have to have more surgery. Despite doctors efforts I may well lose my sight again. When I began to come to terms with this inevitability, that was the most life changing experience. To experience your biggest fear and know it is never far away is sobering. However, this does not have to be negative. It makes me get up, stop bitching and moaning, and get shit done. I want to get as much work and have as much fun as I can with the help of sight because the reality is I won't be able to have exactly the same life if it does pop off again.
A life experience is not just the experience itself in my opinion. It's the aftermath of it. How the days, months and weeks after change you and how you approach your life. From the simplest daily chores of the big events, it's these experiences that shape who we are. It is so important, whether they were good or bad, that we get the best we possibly can from them.
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