Here I am, writing my Gratitude List on the first Saturday of 2013. That fact is enough for me to write about for weeks, but I’ll pare it down as much as I can.
I never thought I would live to see this day. Most of my readers have heard me tell the story of the day I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, somewhere around June 4, 1974. I’m a little vaguer than I used to be about this story. The diagnosing doctor told me that I wouldn’t live to see 33. (Actually, for the last couple of decades, I remembered that number as 40; my older sister assures me that I changed the story to 40 when I turned 33.)
The age is nowhere near as important as the fact: the doctor told me, a 14-year-old girl, that I had a limited lifespan. I had no reason to doubt him — doctors were figures of mucho authority, and at that age, I would never dream of questioning him. In the last couple of years, I have learned that this happened to a lot of diabetics around my age; before I started this blog, I thought I was the only person spending the short years of my life preparing to die. That emotion influenced me, throughout the years, and even after I turned 40.
(At the same time, in 1974, my doctor told my parents to stay out of my diabetic life, lest I lean on them my entire life. My parents behaved exactly as the doctor instructed — I didn’t learn about this little side issue until last year. I spent a lot of time in my life resenting my parents for not helping me; now I know why, and my anger, which had finally diminished over the last few years, was lit anew. I will never understand how a doctor would instruct parents to let their child find her way through a condition like diabetes.
The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, include an admonishment and a suggestion that we learn not to take things personally. I thought I had a reasonable grasp of this concept; in fact, I know I did. I made this lesson a focus in my life, because everything that ever happened to me felt personal. I was even close to finally forgiving the doctor for his insensitivity, and the curse he laid on my life. But when I learned what he told my parents, all the personal stresses, mistakes, and failures that resulted that awful day came rushing back to the front of my mind. My resentment rushed back into my life, and I’ve been working since to get my life back in control.
Fortunately, I have a very strong circle of family and friends who have watched the changes of my years, and they have lifted me up and encouraged me to move bravely back to that scariest of situations, a happy, fulfilled life. I need far more courage to live happily than I ever did living sadly. I find it strange; I was so accustomed to being miserable that changing to a happier mode involved a strong re-evaluation of the way I will live the rest of my life.
So, I am incredibly grateful to be alive here, on the first Saturday of 2013. For a woman who believed she would never see 2000, this is an enormous accomplishment, and a great personal triumph.
I am thankful that my family are all still alive, and that I can be in touch with any of them whenever I want. I am very thankful for my friends, both the flesh and bone friends, and my bloggy family, who have stuck by me through all of the changes I’ve experienced. I love you all, and I hope for all of us a happy, successful 2013, full of surprise and delight.
I am happy to be living in 2013.