A friend of mine just got a big promotion. Man, she's earned it. 24 years of total dedication. I'm so proud of her. A shining example for us all.
Without knowing the future specifically, I'm aware that I may not rise to the highest heights in the company I work for. Certainly not as high as my friend. Which is OK but interestingly too, I've been feeling a bit, well, jealous. Or more accurately, I've been feeling a bit like a loser. Like, "what's wrong with me that I haven't reached the same glorious heights of leadership and power as my friend?" Beyond the sheer self-centeredness of this moment, I'm also appalled by my reaction. Why am I being so shallow and judgemental? Ick.
So I tried to tease it out a bit.
Now some of this is just what happens mid-career. Some people rise to the few seats at the top and others don't. And I certainly have not followed the same career path as my friend. The fact of the matter is, that while managing my career, I've also managed my health. I've worked very hard at both. Diabetes which has been my second job, while I've also been doing the first one.
Diabetes most certainly, does not perclude high levels of success. Quite the contrary. I think it can be the impetus to great things, in career, family and life. It's just that diabetes requires focus and attention too. We get good at doing our jobs and lives, while dealing with diabetes at the same time. I'm reminded of the old adage that is attributed to Ginger Rogers, refering to what it's like being a woman: she did everything that Fred Astaire did, just backwards and with heels on. Well frankly its the same with diabetes. We're dancing like all the rest of them, but we have a bit more to contend with because of those darn heels.
I was talking about this to my mom the other day and she said something that really made me think. She said that while I'm very successful at my job, I've also accomplished important things outside of work too. Now she meant stuff like my marriage, the volunteer work I do, my gardening and art. But what suddenly hit me was that I'd also been "successful" at diabetes. As successful as I could be. But nobody gives you a "vice presidency for diabetes compliance". We don't get a watch or anything for the milestones we reach with this disease. We get life. We get to be a part of the dance and while that is SO GOOD, it's also amazing how invisible the accomplishment of dancing with diabetes is to the world, and in this particular case, to myself.
Once I figured this out, I felt so much better. I realized that everyday we live our lives, as full, contibuting human beings AND as"vice presidents of diabetes". I realized that I felt thrilled for my friend and at the same time, fully proud at what I'd accomplished too. It wasn't about comparisons. It was about clarity. And with clarity about the full picture, my outlook went from half empty to half full in a flash.
All while dancing backwards, with sassy high heels on.