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Living the Lemonade Life.

February 19, 2010

A couple of days ago, on the TuDiabetes forums, my friend Karen (hi Karen!) posted a question about being optimistic with diabetes. Here is what she asked:

How do you Upbeat Diabetics maintain that attitude?

I am always so jealous of all of you who remain so optimistic and upbeat.

What is your secret?

Being that this blog is called Lemonade Life and being that the reason it’s called that is because my motto is “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!” (I’m sure a few of you just had an a-ha! moment, didn’t you?) I thought, I should write back!

So here’s what I said:

I agree with Terry – being pessimistic and miserable just doesn’t help! It just makes me feel worse! It’s much better to try to feel happy than sad, I think.

I try to do what Pollyanna does… find something in every situation to be grateful for. Upset about a high blood sugar? Be grateful you have insulin to bring it down? Confused about what to do in a certain situation? Be grateful for the community of people there to help you. Frustrated about comments from friends and family? Be grateful for the people with diabetes that you can talk to. Sad about having diabetes in general? Be grateful that you are living in a country where you can have it and still live a productive, happy life. It’s tough, but it helps for me to sort of ignore the bad stuff and just focus on the good.

When I was in college and had first started this blog, I really resented the fact that I had such a positive-sounding blog name because at the time, I really wasn’t too happy with very much. But since that time, I have found that it isn’t so much about being positive about diabetes as it is really trying to embrace all the other things that have come with diabetes. I also think it’s not fair to say that people who are upbeat and have diabetes are upbeat about their diabetes. Most people still get a little upset or shocked or nervous when they have a blood sugar out of range, and most people are irritated and frustrated when diabetes interrupts what they want to do. What I have seen help people is taking the negatives and adding some positivity to the mix, and when you do this, you take control. Diabetes is no longer just happening to you. Kelly K does her stand-up comedy about diabetes because, honestly, diabetes can be pretty random and funny sometimes! And Lee Ann is now a speaker on art therapy for people with diabetes. Have you seen some of the art projects she’s helped people create?

When I was in eighth grade, there was a poster in my literature class from Charles Swindoll that said:

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it

Things are always going to happen to you that you wish didn’t happen or would go away. The only thing you really have control over is what you do with what is given to you. It’s perfectly understandable to be temporarily upset over something that happens. We are human and emotional creatures by nature. But I think it’s more empowering to recognize what you truly control in the moment and to seize that opportunity. You can’t turn back time, so focus on what you can do differently moving forward. It sometimes requires some hard thinking, but usually there is always some way that you can empower yourself and help to improve your situation and your outlook, whatever it may be. Sometimes that actually requires recognizing that you can’t improve your outlook on your own, because of depression or burnout or something that you need outside help, guidance or medication. It’s important to find inspiration and motivation in the little things. They’ll end up meaning more in the long run.

What keeps you upbeat?

In other news, I’m looking for guest writers! If you are “living the lemonade life” in that you have taken an obstacle or challenge and are doing something positive with your life because of it or in spite of it, please email me at amblass [@] gmail.com. I would LOOOVE to hear from you.

4 Comments
  1. February 19, 2010 10:42 AM

    Allison:
    Everyone in life has to deal with “something,” no matter who they are. And diabetes, like it or not, is our “something,”and it ain’t going anywhere.
    So find the the funny – like infusion sets being a magnets for doorknobs.
    Find the positive – as in hitting your blood sugar target when you thought you wouldn’t.
    And find the inspiration – in your diabetes community and in yourself.
    Lifes little victories are just as important and just as sweet (total pun intended) as the big ones!
    And thanks for the shoutout!
    Kelly K

  2. February 19, 2010 10:43 AM

    One of my close friends was diagnosed with diabetes her senior year of college. She is now 28 and its still an adjustment, but she’s happy. I’m so glad you have such a good perspective on it because it’s true that the more time you spend on somethin you can’t change only makes it worse for you. I try and live by that every day.

  3. February 19, 2010 12:00 PM

    Very inspirational post. There was a lot of advice that I can apply towards my own “somethings”.

  4. February 19, 2010 1:18 PM

    “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” – that’s my favourite quote ever! I start every class with it (I teach the unemployed resume and interview skills), it’s SO true.

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