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Wobbly & Unsteady Footing
“Change is never easy. You fight to hang on. You fight to let go.” (Susan Ford-Whitten)
Change can be both exhilarating & scary. Perhaps it depends upon the transition itself, our personality style or the point in our lives that it comes about. It may feel complicated or profoundly simple. My experience is that often change presents itself when I have become too comfortable. The major exception to this however is health. There is no rhyme or reason most of the time for changes in my health because I work my guts out trying to be as healthy as possible. (Other than I drink too much coffee & intend to continue that). During university one of my counseling courses included the completion of a personality test. Simplifying the results I have just enough angst about change to make life interesting. My personality is nearly equal parts extrovert & introvert & I kind of float in between the two at times & amalgamate the parts other times. I love sharing time with dear hearts & I also love my alone time. I thrive on both. How about you? With my extrovert personality parts I look forward to change, meeting new people, and welcoming adventure & more laughter. The introvert within me however screams “no no no!” It is the part of me that wants everything to stay the same. It is the portion of me that finds saying goodbye to anyone or anything deeply difficult. To be frank I did not believe that I would allow myself to get too comfortable at any stage of life but it can happen ever so gradually…it almost snuck up on me I suppose. As I grow older I am more cautious about who I spend time with. A mentor once told me that “we become most like the 5 people we spend the most time with.” That stuck with me & as much as possible I try to nurture a circle that builds one another up since I believe there is already far too much division in the world. That is not to say that anyone in my circle is similar to me. Everyone is a beautiful original & I have learned along the way that you can totally disagree about many things & still remain super friends. The outgoing characters in my circle are tremendous fun & the more reserved dear hearts are equally dear to me. Losing a friend is like losing a piece of my heart & over the past few years too many dear hearts have taken the pathway without end far too soon. (In heaven). Along the way in life I stopped saying goodbye at all to friends & instead at the end of a visit simply say, “To be continued.” Life is full of change & we can choose to embrace it or deal with it kicking & screaming right? I do a lot of both. Over the past few months people that I felt a sense of camaraderie with & thought they would be around the corner for the foreseeable future suddenly have received transfers very far away from my wee corner of the world. Things feel like they are tilting & my footing does not feel that sense of comfort anymore. Why are these people leaving I wondered sadly. How many times do we ask ourselves why something is happening & kind of receive a question mark of an answer? If we live with type 1 diabetes & other 365’s perhaps the answer we received upon diagnoses was a big fat ugly question mark. I learned to stop asking myself why my health had taken a nosedive because all the potential answers created more turmoil within me than peace. I want peace so I gave up asking why me as far as my health goes. Life is not fair but it is a beautiful mess & I choose gratitude for the big things (not things at all but love & people). I am not so sure that I am at a point yet though to give up the question of “why is this person leaving?” On the results of my personality test I received an off the charts score on people-centered introvert & people-centered extrovert. The point is that either way I care massively about people & relationships versus tasks & stuff. As a humorous aside for sure I married my opposite personality style since my husband is an off the charts task oriented person. He is a person of few words with strength, compassion (few would get that about him ), intelligence, leadership & is one of the hardest workers that I know. Thank goodness for balance. He does the keeping calm thing & I do the emotional thing & together it is a nice recipe of balance.
Most of us are all too familiar with the popular saying, “it doesn’t rain, it pours.” That is how changes are happening in my life right now & I feel a wobbling footing like I am walking on large pebbles along a shoreline in high heels. Part of change that bothers me is that it feels like the end of a chapter. You know that feeling when you are reading a book that ends & you wish it hadn’t & sort of say, “now what?” Or maybe it is a film or tv series that comes to a conclusion & it feels like a wee bit of a letdown. There are so many things in life that we just plain don’t want to see come to an end. The things on the list will be a variety of things at different times in our life. The thing that I realize about myself that is a bit jarring is that even the things that are not exactly great for me I fight when it comes to change. There have been a few friendships that concluded although I hung on far longer than I should have. Those particular friendships involved a level of emotional toxicity that was not good for my well being but I never throw in the towel on anyone. Those few friendships however somehow were removed mercifully largely due to relocation geographically. All of that is very much in the past. The friends now that are being relocated are people that were a positive influence in my life so the reason they are leaving seems to be met with the answer in either the form of a question mark or to make me break free of my comfort zone & welcome new people into my life not as replacements of course but just to be more open to change. That is a work in progress. Some days I just want to put all my family & friends in a big bubble of protection & freeze the clock.
My favourite hockey team as I have shared before is the Montreal Habs. The 2 players that I am very impressed with both on & off the ice are Carey Price & PK Subban. Both these young men give back with profound generosity their time & monetary support to the community. It always brings a smile to my face remembering the news story with a short video clip of the day that PK Subban stopped his vehicle in a small Montreal suburb, took out his hockey stick & joined in a game of street hockey with a group of awed young neighborhood kids. My oldest son, Matt shared with me that PK Subban’s Dad came to his high school last year. PK’s Dad is a motivational speaker & our son was deeply impacted by the experiences that were shared that day. You can imagine the response of fans of the Habs upon learning of the recent news that PK Subban has been traded from Montreal. Who would have seen that coming? Naturally I remain a steadfast fan of the Habs however I will be cheering on PK as well no matter what team he is on. I suppose that helped me to look at my friends who are out of the blue being transferred as well in the same light. I will continue to cheer those friends on as well in their new geographic areas. Who knows when or if our paths will cross again but I get to continue to cheer even from a distance. During a speech recently PK Subban shared some thoughts that have staying power. He said, “Am I a hockey player or am I a guy who plays hockey?” He continued by saying, “I am a guy who plays hockey because I need to include other ways of giving/meaning so that long after I have finished playing hockey I still make a difference in the world.” For a young man of 27 years old that is pretty fantastic especially. A lot of people tend to identify with either their job title or some other title & it becomes too much of them. For instance what happens if that title goes away? How does one identify then? Sometimes I even relate that to diabetes & even diabetes advocation in my own life. Am I a diabetic…um no way. Am I a diabetes advocate? Yes, but that’s not all & if diabetes were to go away not only of course would I be dancing in the streets with my fellow battle buddies but I would advocate for something else.
Change feels wobbly to me. How about you? Do we embrace it or fight it? It is going to happen no matter what. We are human so we do the best we can at the times of change. We don’t need to critique or beat ourselves up. I like to tell my inner critic to shut the hell up as often as possible. It’s okay to cheer for yourself really. It’s okay to be extroverted or introverted or a combination. It’s even ok to admit to being an extroverted hermit who socializes some days from the comfort of one’s home via social media. It’s okay to embrace the adventure or take baby steps. There’s a fabulous song out with the lyrics “you be you & I’ll be me.” In the spirit of a baby step towards change, a couple of days ago I did something that I had not done before. It was nothing big at all. I walked our middle son, Brian over to our local youth centre. He chatted non stop during the walk & thoroughly enjoyed this small few moments in time together. After I dropped him off I walked back a different way through the building which is also a recreation centre & arts centre. During the walk there was magnificent artwork depicting scenes of nature especially local waterfalls displayed on the walls of the entire hallway that I went down. I stopped & took in each piece of art & felt deeply peace filled. Ok, change is good.
My heart’s hope for you is that as much as possible the changes in your life are viewed through the lens of adventure.
Smiles, Saundie :)
As always have a gentle week. In this ever changing world may you find yourself in the middle of some of the most awe inspiring adventures. Next Monday's writing is already percolating in my coffee logged brain :)