I'm really trying to not let my diabetes be an excuse for feeling sad or down. In truth, it is a real source of ongoing challenge and fatigue. Because of this fact, I've worked hard to give myself the space and permission to take the time I need to replenish and recover from all that diabetes demands. I've worked hard at letting it count and be seen for what it really is, by others, but more importantly, by myself. I've worked hard at cutting myself some slack about sometimes feeling the blues just because I have diabetes.
On the other hand, I also don't want diabetes to get into the way of living the most vibrant, engaged, full life that's possible. I don't want it to be an excuse for not leaning into life. I struggle with this still. I'm struggling with it this morning. I guess I haven't found the perfect balance yet. I wonder if I ever will.
It's the New Year and a time for reflection and promise. I've been trying to think about my diabetes differently lately. Less of a place of sorrow and regret and more of a source of creativity and possibility. More of a reason to have the best life I can. It occurred to me a few months ago to try an experiment. I asked myself, "what would it look like if I flipped the premise I've been living with to see what diabetes is givingto me as compared to what it takesfrom me?"
Wow, now that's a question! Now let me just clarify for a minute. I'm not going all pollyanna on you here. I'm not saying it doesn't take, but rather that it is undeniably here in my life so the question becomes, how can I use that fact to make my life better?
Let me give an example. Travel remains a source of real challenge for me. I can do it if necessary or the pay back is well worth the inevitable diabetes struggle I must endure in the process. Check, I get that. I also hang with a crowd who loves to travel, seeing it as the modern form of adventure and a huge source of creative energy and insight. It's what they strive for and it's what they talk about a lot. Where they've been and what they've seen in their travels is the currency of their lives. Which means I'm left feeling like my life is somehow less than everyone else's because though I'd love to travel, I don't do so that much because it exacts such a profound toll on me on physically. I'm left feeling like I'm not as creative or hip or contemporary because I find not traveling is so much better for my health.
So a few months ago I decided to look at my travel situation in a different light by asking myself a few questions. What does staying local over long periods of time offer up as an advantage to me? What can I use the time, money and energy I'd spend on going elsewhere to enrich and develop my day to day life here? Who are some other people in the world (and throughout history for that matter) who've lived rich and creative lives while staying close to home that I can look to for inspiration?
Once I started to consider my situation from this vantage point the tone of the conversation in my head totally shifted. Honestly. It seems so simple but it's taken a long time to get here. Suddenly, I began to see my day to day life in a very different way. For example, instead of continuing the ongoing debate I've had in my head for years about whether I should build an art studio in my basement this year for Christmas, I asked my husband to build me the tools I needed to start screen printing at home. 4 weeks later, I have a screen printing studio where there was nothing before. This year, during the raging winter storm we had over the holidays, I began learning a new art adventure right in the confines of my own home. It proved to be an adventure as rich and creative and exciting as going to a new place, all without the blood sugar roller coaster or the jet lat. It was really amazing!
What a revelation! And what good fodder for a few diabetes focused New Years resolutions to expand into the coming year. I've never done resolutions specific to diabetes before but given the power and results of this experience, I think I'll give it a try this year. So here goes 2009, let's make it a great year regardless and because of diabetes in my life.
I will have more diabetes friendly adventures close to home.
I will be more gentle on myself because I have diabetes. I will let that fact count for something.
I will accept that diabetes is an undeniable part of my life and as such, will find the advantages it offers.
I will bring more creativity, fun and positive influences into my life because of the presence of diabetes.
Though I know I won't always succeed, I'm going to try more to look on the bright side of this journey.
Happy New Year everyone! May your year be full of comfort, health and happiness! XO Birdie