I truly cannot believe that as I sit here writing this I’m going into my absolute final week as a freshman in college. The hurdle has been conquered! Whoever said time flies really hit the nail on the head. But despite how quickly this year went by, I feel as though I held on to every moment and really appreciated all that it had to offer.
I definitely learned how to appreciate things through blogging. Being forced to reflect on just one aspect of my daily life, Type 1 diabetes, also forced me to reevaluate other aspects of my life, since everything we do is always intertwined.
Though Type 1 can be seen as only one aspect of my life, it’s not some sort of removed situation. It might be one facet, but it is affected by everything else in my daily life, and it in turn affects everything else one way or another. So I suppose before jumping into the diabetes portion of this post, I would recommend that whoever you are, no matter where you are in life, no matter what you’ve done and what you plan on doing, take a minute at least once a week to sit down and write. Or at least to just sit and reflect. Think of your week, your day, the last hour, the last year, and take it all in! It doesn’t matter if that time is solely reflecting on your diabetes care itself, or just your life in general — you will learn that by taking time to just stop, the world won’t necessarily slow down, but you’ll begin appreciate the little things and big things a lot more.
Now, generally speaking, I’m my own harshest critic. I’m by no means a perfectionist, but when it comes to whatever I do, I’m always finding something to critique about myself, something to get better at. For once though, I’m genuinely proud of myself! After my first year of college, my A1C went down instead of up! It’s not necessarily as low as I want it to be, but it’s a start.
Knowing that I got through my freshman year of college without my A1C getting higher has made me truly believe in myself and know that I can absolutely achieve any of my goals when it comes to controlling my diabetes. I went through some of the most stressful and difficult challenges physically and emotionally this year, and knowing that despite all of the trials and tribulations I was able to keep control of my blood sugar is huge.
It wasn’t perfect, and still isn’t. There’s a lot of work to be done, and I know that it’s not going to get any easier. But again, if I could get through my first real independent year and get even better control of my diabetes, anything is possible. I didn’t even realize this until last night as I was thinking up what I would write in this blog post, and when I realized it, I felt so proud.
I know I’m always saying how great an experience diabetes has been for me, but in the day to day it can be taxing, especially when you’re programmed to think “I’m not doing well enough! I need to lower my sugars.” To recognize a personal accomplishment (though a bit strange for me) has really motivated me to keep going. For the first time, I’m actually looking forward to my next A1C because I’m not worried about if it’s going to be perfect. I’m not worried, because I know that it will be even lower than my last one. I’ve set my mind to it, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone as committed to things as I am. I have a tendency to obsess over the things I commit to.
On another note, I want to emphasize that no matter where you’re at with your diabetes care, you absolutely can reach any of your goals. It doesn’t matter if you’re checking one time a day or 10 times a day. If you’re not happy with where you are, the first thing is to not be ashamed. We all get into a slump…sometimes slumps that last a lot longer than we’d like. The worst thing you can possibly do is to continue on the negative route you’re on because you think it’s impossible to reach that 6.0 A1C. Just make the conscious decision that you want to change, and if you stick with that mentality, slowly but surely things will start to improve.
Coming into college I didn’t think I was able to do it. I thought I was too lax with my care, and that without my parents constantly reminding me, eventually my diabetes care would just totally spin out of control. And it did for a very short period of time. But once I decided that I refused to go down that path, I started to monitor more, then I started exercising more, and as soon as I saw the benefits I realized how much better off I was on this path. Suddenly, taking charge of my blood sugar and exercise turned into habit rather than being a drag.
Going to the gym feels like a part of my daily routine now, and when I don’t go I feel all antsy and irritated. Monitoring more frequently is habit too. When I go a couple hours without monitoring, I can feel my anxiety go up. Even if I feel physically fine, psychologically I am uneasy because I hate not knowing where my blood sugar level is. So if you stick to it, I promise it gets easier! There will still be hiccups along the way, and I can without a doubt, 100% guarantee that it will NOT be perfect, but it does get easier. Just like being lazy with diabetes can become habit, so too can being active and attentive with your care. And to top it all off, you’ll feel so much better. Physically and emotionally.
In all, I’ve learned more about myself this year than any other year. I’m still not the perfect person with diabetes, perfect student, perfect daughter, or perfect anything for that matter! I still have a lot of goals that I haven’t reached and a lot of things I need to work on about myself, my diabetes, etc. But I’ve learned that it’s not about being perfect. It’s about realizing where you need to improve and working towards those goals. It’s about consciously reminding yourself of the things you need to work on, and actively pursuing those changes. It’s not easy, but over time, when you start improving things little by little, you begin to realize that the hard work is always worth it.