The Gift of Getting Older...with Diabetes
2013 is full of promise and new horizons. While I don't subscribe to resolutions, I do begin 2013 with renewed INTENTION. I’m on my 24th year with type 1 diabetes and it hasn't been easy. What is has been is worth it. Aside from tiny traces of beginning retinopathy of the eyes (which does not affect my vision), I'm complication-free. I'm preparing my mind, body, spirit, and bloodsugars for pregnancy. I see so many yummy things waiting for me. I refuse to let diabetes get in the way.
Of course, this doesn’t mean diabetes doesn’t affect my life (and the lives of those who love me).
Physiologically and emotionally, it’s always there.
Sometimes in the background, quietly affecting me with a high or low bloodsugar. Sometimes all up our grill.
Like it or not, Type 1 diabetes is a part of my life. I accept it for what it is, do what can be done (within reason) to minimize its effect on daily life, and keep on keepin’ on. What else can I do? Being alive sure beats the alternative!
And while I know age is just a number, it’s an important one. Not as important as other numbers I pay attention to, but noteworthy nonetheless. Facing my 35th year felt important. Caused me to take stock. Rethink some stuff. Change course a bit. Consider things.
Best of all has been the warmth and growth that comes with loving and being loved by others. I love well and am well-loved. I’m scared but anxious to start a little family of my own soon. And I’m grateful for what I’ve learned over the years–including the importance of gratitude and finding blessings where I can.
I know this is a health blog, but I believe mental health is as important if not more so than physical well-being. I feed my soul with things that light me up from the inside out: thrilling (sometimes scary, but cool) experienes, good books, movies, and peeps. I believe in surrounding myself with supportive and inspiring people and stories. I finished one such story recently and encourage you to read John Kralik‘s 365 Days of Thank-Yous?
While I'm not "thankful" for being a type 1 diabetic, it has allowed me to connect with some really cool people and has allowed me to share my story, which I love. And I belive in the power of the "thank you."
It’s amazing what the practice of writing simple thank-you notes, for reasons big and small, can do. After Kralik lost his job, his girlfriend, and his joie d’virve, he needed a shake-up. It took him a year and a half to write 365 thank-you notes to everyone from his children to the barista who remembered his name and order each morning. Paying attention to all the goodness in his world (and then acting on it) profoundly changed his attitude from one primarily made up of self-pity and frustration to one of optimism and sincere gratitude. He felt happier as a result, and the world around him reflected this back to him.
As a writer, I was skeptical. But I believe Kralik when he says his thank-yous weren’t arbitrary, half-hearted attempts to check-off a to-do list, nor were they done in service to a book deal.
They were genuine.
And absolutely treasured.
After finishing the book, it struck me how simple but effective this practice might be.
Little else brightens my day like a handwritten note in my mailbox. I know I’m not the only one.
So I’m trying it.
I’ve used a similar exercise in my college and high school writing courses with great success. Still, the hand-written note is becoming a thing of the past.
I don’t know about you, but the addition of personal touches make a huge difference in my life. This is true whether we’re talking about interior design, gifts, art, writing, or business and marketing. And as useful as the virtual world can be, nothing can replace face-to-face contact and real, live human touch (even for misanthropic solitary writerly folks). Although emails from the heart are nice, receiving a tangible note is much nicer.
Hold-it-in-your-hand thank yous, pictures, and love notes are invaluable to me. I still sneak a little note in lunch sacks or loved ones’ luggage whenever I get the chance. Sure, it takes a little more time, but the pay-off is worth it. Same goes for leaving comments.
Thank you for taking time to write comments and visit this site. Websites, blogs, and articles need readers after all. Writers need an audience. Helpers need people to help. And I know you’re busy. How we each use our time, energy, resources, and talents matter. These things make a difference.
So thank you.
From one diabetic to another.
Heck, from one human being to another.
You matter. And I'm glad you're here.
P.S. If you'd like a handwritten note of thanks and friendship from me, I'd be honored to write one. Just email me your name and an address to send it to and I'd be happy to. Postage and shipping on me!