29 Feels Just Fine

Yesterday, I turned 29 years old. True to Hugging the Cactus tradition, I’m using today’s blog post as an opportunity to reflect on how I feel about this next year of my life.

29 feels just fine to me.

I’m feeling…just fine about 29. Before you think I’m just saying that because it rhymes, or because I’m not genuinely happy to be 29 (the rhyming is just a bonus and honestly, I’m happy to be any age because it means I’m living and that’s a wonderful thing), let me jump in and say it feels fine because…it just feels right for me, right here and right now. It’s not “just fine” in a sarcastic or curt way; rather, it’s “just fine” in the sense that it feels good and perfectly acceptable and something that I will embrace.

To tie it all back to diabetes, “good and perfectly acceptable and something that I will embrace” is kind of the attitude that I strive to maintain when it comes to how I feel about my diabetes. Of course, I have my days where everything is far from good, perfectly acceptable, or embrace-worthy. But generally speaking, I’ve worked hard to get to a place where I simply and peacefully coexist with my diabetes. I ride the waves of highs and lows and always find a way or means to overcome the unexpected ripples of randomness that my diabetes drifts my way.

So I’d like to carry that mindset into the last year of my 20s: a mindset in which I take comfort in knowing that I’m capable of riding the waves caused by diabetes, or anything else in my life, really. Arming myself with the knowledge that I grow through what I go through will help me thrive with diabetes and life, and it seems like an excellent nugget of wisdom to bring with me into year 29.

Diabetes is All About Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable” is a phrase I first grew familiar with when I developed a more serious workout regimen a few years ago.

My daily exercise usually consists of walking my dog, then spending 30-45 minutes completing a workout video of some sort. While these workouts vary in terms of exercise type, one thing remains consistent among them all…and that is the ferocity of the trainers, who besides showing me proper form and technique, also do their part by shouting motivational phrases as I sweat.

“It doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger!”, “You don’t wish for it, you have to work for it!”, and of course, part of the title of this blog post…”Get comfortable being uncomfortable!”

During a particularly challenging workout, that saying stuck out to me. Suddenly, it was dawning on me that this was an extremely good way of summing up life with diabetes. After all, nobody asks for diabetes to happen to them – it just does, and it’s up to people with diabetes and their care teams (loved ones, healthcare providers, and so forth) to accept it and adapt to it.

Life with diabetes is sort of like walking barefoot on rocks…adapting to and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

And let’s be real here: There’s nothing comfortable about diabetes. In fact, there’s a lot of uncomfortable things about it. Constant pokes and prods from sharp needles, interrupted nights of sleep, gadgets that alarm at inopportune and sometimes awkward times…and these are just a few of the things that keep me and other people living with diabetes walking on a tightrope at times.

Despite the often-disagreeable ways of diabetes, it’s important that those of us who live with it find comfort in embracing it for what it is. We can’t change diabetes itself, but we do have the power to change how we perceive life with it. So while diabetes has the ability to make me physically uncomfortable (and frustrated, sad, annoyed, anxious…a whole laundry list of emotions), it’s on me to get comfortable with these feelings and live my best life in spite of them. And like exercise, though it can be an exhausting, challenging, and the very last thing I might want to do sometimes, it’s also something that benefits my body and mind in the moment and in the long run. Why not think about diabetes in the same way, or even move past comfortability with it and into embracing it?

At this point in my diabetes journey, I think I’m mostly there…and therefore happy to say that I am comfortable being uncomfortable.