Finding the Strength

Posted on September 28, 2011

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I sat down to write and decided not to focus on diabetes today.  No particular reason.  Well, that is a small lie.  There is a reason.  My mind has been thinking a lot about making changes in my life.  Finding the strength to let go of the past (and ill perceived notions) and creating a new life (with what I want and need). 

No, I am not getting divorced.  Or leaving my family.  Staying put.  But I have been a bit frustrated and scared about what I am doing with my professional life. Midlife challenge (aka midlife crisis)? 

The kids go off to school, I go for a long run, come home and….?  That is the question…and…? 

What is my life?  A question I have been contemplating a lot lately.  Perhaps too much.  Sometimes I overanalyze and look for answers.  When in fact, just going with the flow of life would be so much better (and easier).  Just letting life happen.  Ahh..Why is that so hard for me to do at times?

I believe having diabetes has taught me to really tune into my life (a good thing).  I have to pay attention to the details.  I have to plan accordingly.  There is no footloose and fancy free (so to speak). 

But does my whole life need to be like that?  Where I pay attention to all the little details.  Analyze.  Overanalyze.  Plan accordingly. 

Well, I have been trying to run my professional life that way(outside of diabetes), and it is not working.

With our recent move from the midwest  to an East Coast beach, I told myself I would stop trying to figure out my purpose- what I was suppose to do for a living.  Driving myself crazy with the notion that I have to have a plan. 

I try to plan with my diabetes.  When I go for long runs, I have to decrease my basal, eat carbs, etc.  If I don’t, the long run will turn into a short run.  I have to test my blood sugar and count carbs before I bolus for every single snack and meal.  I have to think about what I ate for dinner to see if any night time basal adjustments are necessary.  Diabetes is a lot of work.  Tuning in.  But what about the rest of my life?  Do I want to live a life that is so planned out? 

At first, I thought “yes”.  My personality type is a planner.  Ms. Type A.  But then I would not be questioning myself if that was truly the case.  I glance over at the kitchen counter top that has stacks of bills and papers and who knows what else.  My bedroom is the same way – piles and stacks.  Maybe I am not Ms. Planner. 

Or is it more the fact that I want to plan but cannot plan every single thing.  Life does not work that way.  I can take steps and make plans, but that does not mean they will come to fruition the way I envision.  Heck, that is true even with diabetes.  No matter how hard I plan for a long distance run, I still may have a low bloodsugar when running.  And some days there is no clear cut explanation.  It just happens.  But I keep running.  Every single day.

So, I am embracing the fact that while I like to plan my diabetes and social outings with friends, I cannot plan and out all the details in my professional life.  Even though part of me longs to do that.  I cannot.  But I can do what I love.  Why not start with that.  Pretty basic. Follow my heart and passion.  Do what brings a smile to my face.  There are no guarantees, but life is not a guarantee.  Life gives us experiences and surprises.  Amazing journeys. 

Let’s take something I love.  Something like writing.  Do I need to plan it all out? 

Questions that have popped into my head:

1.  When will I write?

2.  What will I write about?  What do people want to read?

3.  Who would be my agent?

4.  Who would be my publisher?

5.  Would I make money?

Yes, a plan.  And I am not saying plans are bad.  Not at all. 

However, at this juncture, trying to plan this part of my life is not working.  I am getting stressed about it.  And stress is not good.  Not good for my diabetes or my writing. 

Why the stress?  Fear of the unknown?  Fear of not knowing when my book will be done?  Or if people will buy it?  Or will writing be enough to sustain me financially? 

The unknown.  Fear.  A perceived lack of control.  The same stuff that sometimes stresses me about diabetes.  The stuff of life.  Everyone’s life.  Experienced in different ways depending on the person, timing, and events.  

The stuff of life.  Stuff.  It is only stuff. 

As I type the word “stuff” I realize that I enjoy writing about stuff.  I love to see the words from my mind appear on the paper.  and the sense of joy it brings me.  Inner peace.  A sense of accomplishment.  Happiness. 

This is a new side of me.   Freeing my creativity.  A budding artist is emerging.   

Who cares if other people like what I write.  Maybe an agent will sign me, maybe  not.  I might make $2 writing or I may make millions.  I may write a book that becomes a movie (my dream).  I just have to write, appreciate the happiness it brings me, and trust.  Trust that my life will be amazing.  And happy. 

When we moved here, I told myself that I was going to treasure the environment.  And I have done that.  I am outside at least 4 hours a day.  The sun, ocean, sand, sound of the waves.  Loving it all.  In fact, the  gorgeous surroundings have really brought forth my strength.  Literally and figuratively: 

1.  I am running 60 plus miles a week.  I was running 40 or so in Louisville.  But I love being outside here.  The warm and salty air.  The sound of the ocean.  The feel of a small beach town.  Beautiful. 

2.  I sit at the beach all by myself.  Relaxing and finding inner peace.  Years ago, I did not like spending time alone.  I guess part of me was afraid of getting to know myself.  Being alone.  Looking deep within.  Accepting all of me.  Diabetes and all. 

3.  Telling people I am a diabetic and proud of it.  I used to hide my diabetes.  Top secret.  I did not want people to perceive me as weak due to my diabetes.  I am not weak. I am strong.  And diabetes has made me stronger.  I can do anything.

4.  And finding the strength to let go of the past.  I don’t want to be an advertising executive anymore.  I was in that exhilirating world for 15 years.  While I loved the challenging work, major responsibilities, money, and travel; my needs have changed.  I have children now, and want to spend time with them.  And I have always wanted to be a writer.  Like running, it is in my blood.  I was taught as a child that “artists” do not make money.  Steer clear of those types of job.  Be professional.  Well, been there, done that.  Ready to follow my heart.  And with my passion will come happiness and success. 

So where does that leave me?  A darn strong and fulfilled diabetic writer, mother, wife, runner, and friend.  Ready to embark on a new life.  Sharing my stories with others.  Empowering myself and others.  Living a wonderful life at the beach.  Taking it one day at a time.  And eating fried pickles and grilled shrimp as much as possible.   

This writer is signing off for now…

Take care everyone,

Michele

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