The Best Gift Given Depends on You
Being the change you wish to see in the diabetes world
By Tom Karlya
January 2013 — With 2012 deeply behind us, we must look ahead and start to deal with the reality of the upcoming year. I know there's a lot of ‘newness' in a brand new year with the opportunity to start over again wherever and in whatever area we think appropriate.
We get to start over. But what does that mean, start over?
The new year does not make me want to start over. What it does do, is lend itself into the thinking that something could happen this year — something big. I always looked at the new year as the final gift from Christmas, unopened.
This gift can be opened over the length of an entire year or it could be a present that you open all at once. Will this ‘gift' hold an engagement, a wedding, a birth, a job change, a major advancement in diabetes, or perhaps even a cure? I look at the year as a time for GREAT things to happen.
I cannot live a life that only perpetuates the fear of the unknown. I want to work even harder and see what happens. As I was once told, "the harder one works, the luckier they seem to be." Have you ever noticed that?
People do indeed reap what they sow — if they are positive and live with a positive attitude, many people around them will do the same. Who wants to be with someone if the first words out of their mouth are, "I live with diabetes, how can life be any good?" Well it can't be if one lives with that attitude, but unfortunately they're out there. It's also unfortunate that they influence so many other people.
This year choose to be different. Choose to take the bad with the good. No one wants anyone who is delusional either — be real. But make the choice to stay as positive as possible. Get involved somewhere. Take on a project that you normally would not even attempt.
You cannot go out on a limb until you at least climb the tree. This year, do so.
What have you done recently? Have you raised money for a cure? Did you help to educate others about diabetes? I always love telling the story of Lisa Treese. To this day she remains one of the single-most inspirational people I have ever met.
When we started together years ago, she was not happy with the diabetes outreach in her hometown of Blair County, Pennsylvania. "But I am not an organization, I'm just a mom," she would say. I assured her that all she needed was the drive to make a difference.
Years later I remind her of that conversation when we are about to speak to 300 people at an event she organized or when we are meeting with an elected official.
I remind her of that conversation when she is about to be interviewed for a television or newspaper story, and when I hear from another mom that feels Lisa had saved her life by ‘being there for her.'
I remind her of that conversation very often because Lisa Treese still changes lives to this day. And in doing so she helps her own child with diabetes. She will also be the first person to give someone else the credit. She also shows no signs of slowing down. None.
Anyone I have met in my life who made a difference has had the same common denominator as Lisa. It was not money, it was not time, it was not connections, it was not celebrities — they each had the single desire to state, "Diabetes will NOT do!" But they also went out to do something about it.
What will you do this year? No one started to change the world until they started with the reflection in the mirror. Desire is all that is needed to get the ball rolling.
Need help? Email me and we can find something to do together. Open your gift for 2013, it may very well be that the best gift you give the world is yourself.
"Don't DO nothing."
I am a Diabetes Dad.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
Mexican-Style Chicken Soup Honey-Hot Chops Chicken with Salsa Verde Mushroom Sesame Stew with Tofu Chocolate Almond Joy to the World Peanut Butter Chicken Vegetable Soup Broccoli Salad Cookies and Cream Brownies Pork with Mustard Sauce Black Eyed and Green Pea Salad
One of the online diabetes groups I belong to (but don't frequently post to) is geared towards "frum" (Orthodox or "observant") Jewish people with (mostly type 1) diabetes. Most of the chat on the mailing list centers around people needing last-minute supplies before Shabbat or a holiday, where to acquire supplies and get medical help when visiting Israel, and advice on which pump is best for one's type 1 child — in other words, the usual sort of diabetes chatter, but...