Living Well With Diabetes: Life Priorities

When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes I was forced to look at how I was doing things. 

What are my habits? How do they affect my health? How am  I spending my time? What is most important to me? What am I willing to do differently? What am I not?

Frankly, it was overwhelming. Where to start?

I started with the big picture. What and who are most important to me? Looking back on my life from 60 or 70 or 80 or 90 years old what do I want to see? (Yeah, I think I can live that long.) What do I want to get out of life? What experiences? What relationships? What impact do I want to have?

In short: “What are my life priorities?”

This may seem like heady stuff. And it is. Why start here? Why not focus on the lifestyle changes I needed to make? Or the medication routine?

My life is bigger than diabetes.

Yes I have Type 2 diabetes and need to be mindful of that. But this disease doesn’t define me.

I live in Hawaii and to this day the Kalaupapa community continues on Molokai. Perhaps you’ve heard it referred to as the leper colony that Father Damien led in the late 19th Century. Today the people who live there say they have Hansen’s disease and are insulted if you refer to them as lepers. As it’s been said, people aren’t called “cancer” so please don’t call me “leper.”

My life priorities motivate me.

I need something other than my doctor telling me to “be good” to motivate me take care of my health. I know this because I successfully ignored my doctor’s health advice for decades.

What’s going to keep me eating few carbs? The results of a quarterly blood test? Nah, I don’t think so. What’s going to get me up and walking? A 20-minute minute meeting with my doctor? Nope.

But I will eat healthfully if it means I am clear headed and have the energy to write daily. And I will go for that walk on the beach if it means spending time with my daughters and husband.

By using my life priorities as motivation I get something tangible (that I want) out of taking care of myself. My life priorities are what keep me on track. Your life priorities can do the same for you.