I had a lovely dinner last night with a colleague and friend. We ate great food, drank terrific cocktails and didn’t shut up except for when the waiter was telling us the evening’s specials (and even then we ‘oohed’, ’aahed’ and ‘yummed’ our way through that).
At one point, my friend reminded me of a beautiful part of the book Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, a book I read when it first came out back in the mid-1990s.
As soon as I got home from our dinner, I searched for it so I could read the words again. Here they are:
When I first read the book, these words kind of washed over me. I was hearing them quoted a lot, and in the coming years I heard them read at weddings. They are beautiful words; read aloud it is beautiful prose.
But it wasn’t until last night that I read it and felt really understood it. The poem is an ode to enduring love, but that’s not what struck me. At least, not necessarily the love bit. But the endurance bit certainly did.
Over the last couple of years, things have been difficult. When I look at how I have been managing my diabetes, it has been a series of fits and starts. There are spurts of focus, then dips of almost denial. There are times of desperation and exhaustion and then periods of energy. It’s uneven. New devices see me get enthusiastic and motivated, but only for a short period. Then I return to the slump.
It’s not the exhilarating times that matter. Of course they are wonderful and enjoyable and sustaining and thrilling. Having a new pump or a new meter or a new CGM is a sure-fire way to get me thinking more about diabetes. But this doesn’t last. And it also doesn’t really count.
Equally, it’s not the slumps that matter.
What really matters is actually what you might call the boring times. It’s what comes before and after the flurry of interest of a new toy. Or the times around the ‘nosedives’. I feel best about my diabetes management not when I am stressed about how little I am doing or happy because I am so focused. It is actually the time when it is just there, plodding along, being considered at an ‘appropriate’ level. It’s not sexy. It’s not dramatic. But it’s so good because I feel relaxed and comfortable about it. It just is.
I am sure that there is something to be said about the fast-paced world we live in and this idea that we always need to be thrilled by something new. It’s too easy to get complacent and comfortable. That’s probably one of the reasons that I embrace new and emerging technologies with such zealousness.
However, if I was relying only on the new stuff to sustain me, it would never last. A new pump becomes just a pump very quickly. A new meter stops being new and shiny after a while and becomes just a meter. And a CGM may be magical and brilliant and life-changing until it become just another tool in the diabetes tool kit. That doesn’t make them any less important or valuable. But if I was relying on the excitement of the new, I would need a new toy every week or so!
The endurance of ‘just being’. That’s the sweet spot. That’s when I know I am getting it right. I just wish I could work out how to be there a whole lot more!
I am lucky that Aaron is always listening to new music. This CD was a recent purchase. Sometimes I hear something that makes me just so delighted. Like this live performance of my favourite track from the CD.