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A Note on 30

September 20, 2013

A blog about diabetes is also a blog about life, as diabetes, for me, is really a call to living well. And I don’t mean it’s a call to reduce cholesterol and increase omega 3s, which it can be to some people (I ate that shit well before the diabomb). I mean that it provides me with a daily meditation on life choices and their repercussions; a daily meditation on the permanent imminence of death and my gratitude for life; and a daily meditation on the inevitability of suffering and the opportunity to find meaning in struggle. 

 So I’m gonna blog a little bit about life today, as today is the mark of my 30th revolution around the sun, the end of a stupendously epic decade, and the beginning of a new one.

My twenties were epic. I repeat, my twenties were E-P-I-C. If the 20s are, to my generation, a time of self-discovery, mistake-making and value-shaping, I hit the mark on all fronts.

 

There was a lot of energy spent separating the person I wanted to be for others from the person I knew in my heart that I am. There was a lot of crashing-and-burning in love (and a lot of loving, growing, nurturing, falling and evolving in love). There were many many random jobs, as well as some amazing ones (I never expected to pay my rent as a radio host, or develop a little niche for NFP communications consulting, or work as a drama teacher, or be a counter-girl at one of North America’s most famed kosher bakery).

There were a LOT of trips to California, my self-proclaimed Power Spot. There were several last-minute impulsive moves to new cities, often when I was between jobs and seeking the high of a new beginning, or the escape of a broken heart, or the comfort of old friends, which like all impulsive decisions, had consequences that I had to face and grow from.

There was the way music (choral singing, singing-singing, songwriting) whacked me over the head after having cut it out in my later teens, re-entering my life in painful and beautiful ways. There were things that took a lot of courage: like going back to school to study music alongside a bunch of 17-year-olds, while all my friends were going through law school, grad school, or med school.

There were many, many expensive hours spent in therapy.

There were the things that strengthened my values and grounded me as a person. Being diagnosed with diabetes at age 26 changed me in countless ways. Helping me re-prioritize friendships, relationships, and values were just some of those ways. It gave me the kind of adult responsibility most people describe that they get from becoming parents – a total re-organization of how you view the world and your role in it.

Many platitudes have become lived truths. Over the last few years I’ve noticed myself seeking approval less, and being more forgiving of myself for being human. I’ve noticed that hard times can come and go and I don’t feel bad about them the same way: that I can be sad or lonely or scared for a time without being a Sad, Lonely, Scared Person. This distinction is huge.

My work ethic has improved. I like to follow through on the things that I say I will do. Being trustworthy and dependable matters to me. I work hard to cultivate and earn the quality of loyalty.

My capacity for love has gotten stronger. It’s a lot easier to love someone else with full acceptance of their humanity when you are loving and accepting towards yourself. Platitude of the Year, but oh-so-true. Similarly, I’ve become much more discerning about who I say I Love You to. With friends and partners alike, it’s something I don’t want to say unless my actions will back it up. For the long haul. Cuz that’s what love is.

So here I am at 30 today. Life is good. Yesterday I submitted bound copies of my master’s thesis, finally completing my master’s in music therapy. This degree was a long time coming: after wrestling with the very notion of grad school in my earlier twenties, I don’t think I could have ended up in a graduate program more suited to my skills and talents than this one. I’m proud to say I didn’t do this degree to please anyone else – I did it for my own growth, and so that I could offer greater skills and services to the world.

And its getting me work! I am gainfully employed in work that challenges me and rewards me, that is diverse enough to satisfy my interests and personality. I get to work from home some days, on the road other days, in hospitals, nursing homes and counselling centres, some days with people and some days with myself. I get to keep singing professionally in choirs. I can look forward to being above the poverty line in upcoming fiscal years, and to build a wee bit of savings. After a decade of struggling to negotiate a desire for a career with a commitment to personal growth and authenticity, this feels huge.

Life, and nature, have inevitable seasons of growth and seasons of dissolution. While both have meaning, growth and bounty is always a little more comfortable to sit mindfully in. I’m glad to be in such a season right now. It definitely makes a birthday easier to celebrate.

I feel 30 now, which is great. 🙂

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