“You’re Being Too Paranoid”

They didn’t say that to me, but they didn’t have to…it was written in bold all over their faces.

Recently, I dined outside with people who are close to me (I’m not going into specifics as to who exactly they were to maintain some level of discretion). I was explaining to them that come the winter season, I probably won’t be dining out much out of COVID concerns.

I wish people would spend less time judging others and more time taking the proper precautions to help protect themselves and their loved ones.

I’m just not ready to dine indoors yet. In fact, since March, I’ve only set foot into a physical store, dwelling, or other establishment a dozen times. For me, the risk associated with spending time inside when it’s completely avoidable just isn’t worth it.

But what sucks about this is the judgment I receive from others. Just like I did in this scenario, the looks on their faces make me feel like I have to defend myself. I wanted to scream at them, “you try having a chronic illness and dealing with it during a global pandemic!”…but of course, I’d never do such a thing, and I’m very glad that they don’t have to worry about that.

I do wish, though, that they – as well as other people who are quick to judge individuals like me who are scared and overly cautious these days – would use a little more grace and humility when conversing with those of us who are high risk.

Please try to put yourself in my shoes.

Please understand that not only am I considered high risk, but I’m in direct contact with loved ones who are also considered high risk.

Please know that, yes, I do have a desire – a very strong one – to get back out there and do “normal” things.

But think about the things holding me back…a chronic condition that requires a lot of my time and energy, for starters.

And think about how there are millions of other people like me who share this great responsibility for an underlying health condition that they didn’t ask for on top of a great fear.

I hope it changes your perspective.

27 Acts of Kindness: Days 15 and 16

We’re entering week #5 (or is it 6?) of work-from-home life here at Hugging the Cactus.

Truth be told, I’m feeling a bit burnt out this week.

After a decently nice weekend, I entered Monday feeling rather…blah. Which was annoying because I’ve actually kind of enjoy Mondays recently.

But rather than embracing this one with open arms, I treated it more like Garfield the cat would…ew, Monday again.

The bright side was that I still had acts of kindness to do that will surely make my week better as it goes along.

Monday, 4/20 – Act of Kindness #15: I texted a friend today. This friend is someone who I usually only talk to in group settings, but because I know that the individual has really been struggling lately, I wanted to let the person know that they’re on my mind (again, keeping it kind of vague here on purpose to protect this person’s identity). We ended up making plans for a virtual tea party later this week, which I know will be mental health bolster to us both.

After exchanging just a couple of messages with this friend, it dawned on me just how important it is to check in on our family and friends – not just during the hard times, but also on a regular basis. Because who doesn’t like knowing that someone is thinking about them? Or that someone cares about them? I think that a lot more people struggle with feelings of loneliness than we might realize, so if sending a thoughtful text or picking up the phone to call someone is all it takes to make a person feel a little less alone, then it’s a small gesture that could have a big impact on the well-being of many.

Sunshine
In other news, this adorable little sun makes my day so much brighter…and I hope that I help make the days of others brighter, too.

Tuesday, 4/21 – Act of Kindness #16: In keeping with my “checking in” theme, I decided to combine that with my appreciation for the talented bloggers within the diabetes community. There are just so many awesome blogs out there that I don’t get to visit often enough! So I spent a portion of my Tuesday afternoon catching up on blog posts from various members of the DOC from the month of April. After reading them, I did my best to leave comments on each post because as a fellow blogger, I know how much I enjoy it when I receive comments on my writing. It’s always a good feeling knowing that someone out there cares enough to read my ramblings, so I figured other bloggers might like getting a note on their most recent posts.

While I was reading and commenting, it also occurred to me that I could review one of the diabetes podcasts that was kind enough to have me as a guest a couple months ago. I left a rating and a review on Apple podcasts for This is Type 1, and hopefully, the hosts will see it and it will make them smile.

I’ll wrap up today’s blog post by sharing the blogs I visited and left comments on, because I think you should check them out, too!

Ally’s blog: Very Light, No Sugar – “The Sugarhouse”

Frank’s blog: Type 1 Writes – “Insignificance”

Renza’s blog: Diabetogenic – “A COVID-19 food post not about banana bread”

Tracy’s blog: Sugarcoated – “A Westworld of Our Own”

Rachel’s blog: Yoga for Diabetes – “Rest, restore, and get creative”

Briley’s blog: inDpendence – “Details. Lots of ’em”

Colleen and Jessie’s Podcast: This is Type 1

27 Acts of Kindness: Days 10 and 11

Hey Cactus Huggers. How’s it going? Is everyone holding up okay?

(I’d ask if you’re “hunkering down” but that phrase is just overused these days. So I’m just doing a standard “how ya doin’?”)

It’s hard to believe that many of us have been quarantined for more than a month now. Surprisingly, I’m holding up okay. Sure, I miss going places, and I would really like to hug a bunch of the people who I’m missing more and more with each passing day. But I know that self-isolating is the right thing to do for the time being.

Besides, I’ve had work and some personal projects to keep me busy, and that always helps.

And you know by now that the acts of kindness challenge is among my personal projects at the moment! Here’s what we’ve got for Wednesday and Thursday of this week…

Wednesday, 4/15 – Act of Kindness #10: One thing that my family and I have been particularly grateful for throughout this crisis (besides each other) is the fact that we have food. It’s a basic need that so many people in this world go without, and we often take for granted that we not only have it, but we have a wide variety in choices of fresh produce, cuts of meat, dairy products, snack bars, and some treats, too. We’re so dang lucky that we can afford to keep our kitchen well-stocked and to have access to so much in the first place.

That’s why I chose to donate to my town’s community food bank as Wednesday’s act of kindness. I was actually able to double my donation, thanks to my company’s new COVID-19 giving and volunteering program. So not only am I fortunate enough to be in a position to give back to my community, but I’m also privileged to work for a company that’s actively supporting the communities where its employees live and work.

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
We’re getting fancy now with an act of kindness-inspired GIF!

Thursday, 4/16 – Act of Kindness #11: I admit that yesterday’s act directly benefited me. Allow me to explain.

When I started doing research on different acts of kindness that I could do without in-person contact with others (because obviously it’s important to protect ourselves and our loved ones right now), I was surprised by how many suggestions revolved around things like calling, emailing, and texting other people. I guess I hadn’t thought about it this way before, but setting aside the time to let someone, anyone in your life know that you’re thinking of them is a huge gesture of kindness and friendship. So, inspired in part by the notion of reconnecting with old friends, I helped make that happen last night when I video chatted with three T1D pals who I literally haven’t seen in years.

It was awesome to reunite and catch up on everything that’s happened to all of us in that span of time. And it was a major reminder to me that I know some extremely cool people! One biked across the country a couple years ago with another group of T1Ds (you may have heard about a little thing called Bike Beyond), one has participated in the Boston Marathon not just once, but multiple times (!), and the other has helped an amazing nonprofit grow from a wee tiny thing into a pretty huge freaking deal. It’s truly an honor that I can say that I don’t just know these people, but they’re friends, and friends that I’m glad I made time for (and hope to hang out with, virtually and in-person, more often).

Things have been strange lately, and are strange now, and will continue to be strange for some time…but at least the company we keep, whether it’s physically under the same roof, a few miles away, or across the country, can keep us in positive spirits and make things feel…well, a little less strange.