Thanksgiving is the time of year when we reflect on our good fortune. Some things automatically make the top of the list, like family and friends. But some things require a little more soul searching to find.
Every year, I take a deep dive into my life and find things outside of the norm to truly give thanks for. Setbacks and failure are things I’ve learned to accept in life because they make me stronger. We wouldn’t have the knowledge we do without learning what we shouldn’t do, right? I’ve made some boneheaded mistakes, but I’ve also learned how to avoid them too. Heck, I’ve built my career on “getting back on the horse.” Failure isn’t bad as long as you take something positive away from it.
Every year, type 1 diabetes makes my list. Sure, I’d take a cure in a heartbeat, but the person I am today has been shaped by my diagnosis at the tender age of nine—that’s a ton of responsibility for a kid! Many children don’t have to worry about the trial and tribulations of diabetes. But it made me mindful of my everyday life.
Like sports, diabetes teaches you how to fail. There are days where you’re going to strike out—even if you did everything right. I learned that early in life. Diabetes has made me more appreciative too. Every day is a new challenge, and a new reason to be thankful for my health.
It also gave me a good work ethic—diabetes doesn’t give you a day off (not even Thanksgiving). You have to work on every holiday year after year, but here’s the thing, it doesn’t need to hold you down unless you allow it to.
Every Thanksgiving, I fail. I load my plate up way too high, and you know what? It’s okay. I still remain mindful although I know my numbers won’t be spot on. One helping of cranberry sauce is enough, and two dinner rolls is too much if I’m eating a decent helping of sweet potatoes. Instead of restriction, it’s about trade offs—another life lesson taught by T1D.
I’m not grateful for being sick, but I am very appreciative for what I’ve taken away from T1D. It has coached me through everything from dinner choices to my career decisions. I don’t look at every hardship as a set back—I see them as an opportunity because of T1D. And for that, I am grateful.