New starts excite me. I love the possibilities of what lies ahead. The beginning of a new year has me filled with optimism. I don’t do resolutions, but I do like the ‘clean sheets’ feel of the start of January. And with a year behind me that was probably one of the most difficult I’ve ever had to endure, saying goodbye to 2013 has been more than welcome.
But as much as I love the new, the old makes me feel secure.
Old habits die hard, and for me that’s never more apparent than when it comes to diabetes. As much as I like to be up-to-date with the latest gadgets and know what’s at the cutting edge of research, I can still be relied upon to do many things the same; day in, day out. There is comfort in knowing that when checking my BGLs, my middle and ring fingers will always draw blood, so they are the two that I always use. There are minimal surprises when I insert a new cannula into the only fleshy part of my middle region – around the sides. Insulin delivers smoothly and evenly and after four or five days, I know that it’s time to change the line before my BGLs start to rise. Hypo treatments that work are the ones I rely on and mixing it up only reminds me why I’ve used The Natural Confectionary Company snakes for the last 10 years. Call it a rut if you want, but I prefer to look at it as ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
It only becomes a problem when something I’m doing – and continuing to do – isn’t working and I don’t do anything about it. Not learning from mistakes is denial in its worst form. There have been times when I’ve known what I’m doing isn’t working and instead of dealing with it and making changes, I make excuses for it. ‘Oh, inserting cannulas into my leg isn’t providing as stable insulin delivery as usual, but it’s only because I’m sitting at my desk for work. When I start walking around more it will be fine.’ (Note to self: your job means sitting at your desk. You don’t like walking around. Stop putting the cannula in your leg!) Or ‘Yep – I’ve been hypoing constantly at 3am for a week now. But I don’t need to change my basal rates. Oh, no. I’ll just keep seeing if it fixes itself’. (Note to self: it won’t. Change your basal rates, you twit.)
Einstein said that the definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. I say denial is often easier than trying to work out what’s going wrong and making changes.
So even though I say I don’t do resolutions, I am making one promise to myself for this year. Denial is out. If something isn’t working or if something is wrong, I’ll address it. Making the same mistakes over and over and over again doesn’t serve me well in any way. I’ve been too complacent in accepting things simply because I’ve felt I haven’t the energy to tackle them head on. But no more.
As I stood watching the fireworks explode over the city, signalling the start of two thousand and fourteen, I exhaled the year that just closed and said a quiet good bye. But better than that, I felt the strength in me that had built over the year. Because that’s the thing. Learning from the tough times means that hopefully the same mistakes won’t be made again. I know that if faced with any trials and tribulations like the ones that came into my life last year, I won’t be dealing with them the same way. I’m ready for them.