My sis and I recently celebrated our thirty-fifth birthdays. We’re identical twins, but our lives and personalities are quite different. She’s an artist and mom of three now living on the northern coast of California. I’m a writer and educator (and proud aunt) who has settled in the Midwest after living in Europe, SE Asia, and the East coast. She’s on her 27th year with Type 1 diabetes; I’m on my 24th. Aside from tiny traces of beginning retinopathy of the eyes (which does not affect my vision), we’re complication-free.
Which doesn’t mean diabetes doesn’t affect our lives (and the lives of those who love us).
Every. Single. Day.
Physiologically and emotionally, it’s always there.
Sometimes in the background, quietly affecting us. Sometimes all up our grill.
Like it or not, Type 1 diabetes is forever a part of our lives. We both advocate for accessible, high quality, life-sustaining care, supplies, and treatment for diabetics and others whose lives have been affected by chronic disease. Overall, we accept it for what it is, do what can be done (within reason) to minimize its effect on daily life, and keep on keepin’ on. What else can you do? Being alive sure beats the alternative!
And while I know age is just a number, it’s an important one. Not as important as other numbers I pay attention to, but noteworthy nonetheless. Turning 35 felt important. Caused me to take stock. Rethink some stuff. Change course a bit. Consider things.
Best of all has been the warmth and growth that comes with loving and being loved by others. I love well and am well-loved. I’m scared but anxious to start a little family of my own someday soon. And I’m grateful for what I’ve learned over the years–including the importance of gratitude and finding blessings where we can.
I encourage you to read John Kralik‘s 365 Days of Thank-Yous? It’s amazing what the practice of writing simple thank-you notes, for reasons big and small, can do. After Kralik lost his job, his girlfriend, and his joie d’virve, he needed a shake-up. It took him a year and a half to write 365 thank-you notes to everyone from his children to the barista who remembered his name and order each morning. Paying attention to all the goodness in his world (and then acting on it) profoundly changed his attitude from one primarily made up of self-pity and frustration to one of optimism and sincere gratitude. He felt happier as a result, and the world around him reflected this back to him.
As a writer, I was skeptical. But I believe Kralik when he says his thank-yous weren’t arbitrary, half-hearted attempts to check-off a to-do list, nor were they done in service to a book deal.
They were genuine.
And absolutely treasured.
After finishing the book, it struck me how simple but effective this practice might be.
Little else brightens my day like a handwritten note in my mailbox. I know I’m not the only one.
So I’m trying it.
I’ve used a similar exercise in my college and high school English courses, but it’s becoming a lost art.
I don’t know about you, but the addition of personal touches make a huge difference in my life. This is true whether we’re talking about interior design, gifts, art, writing, or business and marketing. And as useful as the virtual world can be, nothing can replace face-to-face contact and real, live human touch (even for misanthropic solitary writerly folks). Although emails from the heart are nice, receiving a tangible note is much nicer.
Hold-it-in-your-hand thank yous, pictures, and love notes are invaluable to me. I still sneak a little note in lunch sacks or loved ones’ luggage whenever I get the chance. Sure, it takes a little more time, but the pay-off is worth it. Same goes for leaving comments.
Thank you for taking time to write comments and visit this site. Blogs need readers after all. Writers need an audience. Helpers need people to help. And I know you’re busy. How we each use our time, energy, resources, and talents matter. These things make a difference. All the difference in the world sometimes, as it turns out.
S0 let me put my money where my mouth is and send you a note. Just email me with your name and a postal address, and I’ll send you one. It’d make me happy to do so. I promise to never sell or use your information for anything other than sending you a handwritten thank you note!