Every now and again I have a conversation with someone which links together my thoughts, feelings and interactions like Charlotte weaving her web. I know a lot of people who are better off than me in many aspects of life; wealthier, healthier, sexier, happier. I know more people who I would consider worse off than me. But I have come to a point in my life where I don’t need the comparison to know that. Some may say that it is a coming of age. I say it is my true definition of contentedness. Life is a continuum and I know I will never be free of the need to compare, but the need is lessening. This shift probably speaks more to the state of my self-esteem which I am on a constant quest to improve.
I have been experiencing thoughts and feelings which may fly in the face of many people I adore on the Diabetes Online Community. So I’ve been keeping them all neatly tucked away. I express myself through this blog and my online interactions with much consideration given to the feelings of others. But for some reason I just can’t keep a lid on this one. So here it goes; I’m all for cathartic exercises to free the spirit.
As a person living with type 1 diabetes, I don’t have it that bad.
There. I said it. Probably not the ground breaking revelation you were expecting, however this admission is a big one for me.
I realised that the moments, (and sometimes days and weeks,) of getting frustrated with living with diabetes can be likened to someone else’s frustration with how busy their street is. Most days they can handle it. But every now and again, they curse at how long it takes them to pull out of their driveway. Or worry themselves sick when their children are crossing that street to walk to school. So I’ll just do that. I’ll just frame up my diabetes-related complaints as a temporary frustration with something that is out of my control, like a busy street. If I do that, then I still allow myself the space and time to throw my hands in the air without losing appreciation for just how good I have it. My reflections on a few recent experiences have merged together to help me form this view which will be foundational to my existence for ever more.
Being part of the global Diabetes Online Community has allowed me to interact with people who have fabulous access to the internet, but minimal access diabetes specialists and supplies. I know which I would prefer if I had a choice. The things that seem to concern them the most about living with type 1 diabetes are similar to mine; developing diabetes-related complications. But for very different reasons. They worry because they can’t get access to enough expertise or medication to prevent or deal with complications. I worry because of what may lie within my genetic make-up to lead to complications because I have always had access to all of the resources I have ever needed and wanted.
A good friend of mine doesn’t plan ahead for much more than a day or a week at a time outside of their normal routine. They do this for a number of different reasons, but the topic of our conversation was type 1 diabetes related because that’s what we have in common. Diabetes interfered with their life in a very unfair way, and they have since been the recipient of a kidney / pancreas transplant. One of their responses grounded me in an indescribable way. They said,
“You know the best thing about living just one day at a time? You don’t tend to worry about what might happen… but really, life is too short to worry about what could happen. Worry about and deal with things once they become a reality I say… The transplant is probably the most ‘certain’ thing in my life for the past 15 – 20 years. “
It struck me that the choice I make to plan ahead I equate to security and sureness. I haven’t ever given any thought to leading a life without the supposed guarantee of planning ahead. My husband has been training for four months for a 180km bike ride through the local mountain ranges. I have planned a weekend trip away with my sister to celebrate her birthday at the end of next month. Paul and I started planning our united parenting strategies before we even got married. Planning for my future is a gift I get to unwrap if, and when I want to. How good do I have it?
Outside of my world of diabetes, I witnessed my Mum accept her first and fatal diagnosis of cancer within days of passing away. After the cloud of desperation and grief lifted from my beautiful life, I ended up feeling quite privileged to have been part of such an intimate process. I still remember my Mum gracefully saying, “I know. And it’s ok. I know.” A friend from highschool is battling breast cancer. The prognosis is quite dim and she is taking it all in her stride in such an admirable way. She humours her three little boys when they lovingly suggest that it’s time for her to go to the lady who will paint her eyebrows back on. All of her hair fell out following her very first surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatment. The length of time given is irrelevant. It’s what you do with it that matters most.
It comes as no surprise that this song stayed with me long after I heard it for the first time…
I will continue to frame up my life with a stead-fast committment to being grateful for everything that is my life.
I will tempt the universe to deliver the amazing life I plan to lead.
Oh! And one last thing… I’ll try not to over pathologise my life 😉