I put this on my blog tonight and I realized I wanted to share it with you.

I turn 60 tomorrow. How did that happen? My mother's probably asking herself the same question up in Connecticut. I'd say just putting one foot in front of the other every day. But the occasion does give me pause to think about what I've learned so far.

(By the way, this picture was two years ago me shooting up before my meal. My friend P. to my right looks a little startled, but then I'm a teacher and this was a teachable moment.)

It hasn't all been easy. I was a shy and quiet kid. People would tease me by saying I was talking too much. Today I speak to all kinds of groups, small and large and love it. No one who knew me then would imagine me now. But my deepest desire always was to help others believe in themselves. Today I do it around diabetes which I could have never predicted.

I couldn't ask to be in a better place on the eve of my sixtieth birthday. I am married to my true partner in life, in love and in work. My parents are still here. I have a treasure trove of dear friends, and acquaintances who bless me with their fellowship through diabetes. I love where I live, which was a lifelong riddle to solve. And I travel voraciously. To towns large and small across the States, as an A1C Champion, which I love and across the ocean. That's what you get for marrying a European. How lucky he, and his frequent flier miles, fit right in with my wish list. And growing up a listener serves me well in the work I do today, as a health coach, writing on The Huffington Post, writing books and speaking at conferences and as a peer-mentor.

Turning fifty was a hard one. It was the first time I realized there was more time behind me than in front of me. But even though that's even more the case now, I'm kinda tickled to be turning sixty. I think of all I've accomplished and where I'm so contentedly sitting in my life right now.

So tonight, looking back on six decades - true, I don't remember the first several years, alright let's be honest, the first decade - I realize maybe I've learned a few things worth passing on to my younger friends and colleagues.

5 Lessons I've Learned Along the Way

1. Don't measure your success against anyone else's. In my twenties I was jealous of how many people around me were clear about what they wanted to do, were on their path achieving so much. I felt I was floundering. Searching for what work I was meant to do, where, how. What cured me of that was when a friend I envied, got a tumor. Surprisingly, I nursed her through it. But I realized, you don't know what's on anyone's road ahead, including your own, good and bad. Just be on your road.

2. Look for the silver lining. I got type 1 diabetes at 18. I've had it 41 and a half years. I was misdiagnosed initially as a type 2; after all only kids get type 1. The first decade I had it there were no meters to test my blood and we knew so little about food, etc. But having been there, I'm so grateful I'm here. And I see what I've gained from having diabetes - a commitment to my health. I'm convinced I wouldn't eat as healthfully as I do, walk as I do or keep myself trim and fit if not for diabetes. And maybe I wouldn't have fulfilled my need to find purposeful work. Most days I truly look at what I have, not what I don't.

3. Be kind. If I do one thing passing this way in life I hope it's that I'm kind. It's selfish; I like making people feel seen, whether it's my waiter or the girl who checks out my groceries at the supermarket. At my first job in public broadcasting a colleague taught me this lesson unknowingly. I would watch her make the guy who parked her car feel equally important to the President of the company. She talked to them both with the same regard.

4. Savor the simple stuff. I think this is something that comes with age. When I'm cooking in the kitchen listening to Sade or Patti Austen, sipping a glass of wine, and my husband is working feet away in the living room (a tiny one bedroom city apartment) I am happy. These are the moments they tell you you will recall in the end. I believe they're right.

5. Pat yourself on the back more. I think women especially are enormously critical of themselves. We're not enough, we don't measure up, if we fail, why did we even think we could do it in the first place? If we succeed, we got lucky. Fuggedaboutit! You are a gem, maybe a diamond in the rough, but a gem. Cherish daily accomplishments, and your efforts. Whoever made us think we were supposed to be perfect at everything?

When I was 18 and diagnosed with diabetes, it was unreal. One pill a day and "don't eat candy" kept it unreal for years. As it sunk in, I mourned the complications I would inevitably get and the 15 year shorter lifespan I was told I'd have.

Hmmm, I haven't got any complications, and I no longer expect my life to be any shorter than anyone else's.

When I was 54 years old my good friend, Deborah O'Hara, died from cancer. She was only 59, and my first good friend to die. Funny, she came from a small town in upstate New York but we met in Asia. She lived in Hong Kong and I lived in Tokyo and our work made our paths cross.

We don't know what's on our path. But when my mother calls me tomorrow and says, "How can I have a 60 year old daughter?" we both know it all goes too fast. You'll know this as you see more grey hairs.

You may have to wait before these five lessons mean anything to you, I did. But, I just wanted to share. With that, I'm off to roast some cauliflower and broil the salmon. While listening to Josh Groban and sipping a nice bright white from Spain.

Views: 257

Tags: birthday, books, diabetes, habits, healthy, tips

Comment by shoshana27 on September 1, 2013 at 5:59pm

happy birthday, riva, & many more happy & healthy ones
just enjoy life
& shana tova

Comment by nel on September 1, 2013 at 10:05pm

Wise words ...and how young is your Mom ?? Both of you qualify as they do in the old country ( the Netherlands )for the BEST Birthday Wishes ...BD's are a Family affair !

Comment by Clare on September 2, 2013 at 5:58am

Happy Birthday Riva and thanks for your 5 life lessons. Shana Tova enjoy the season.

Comment by Kathyann on September 2, 2013 at 9:31am

Happy birthday Riva! I'm watching a summer rain come down outside my window and appreciating that I'm not the only one in her sixties!!

Comment by matchmo1 on September 2, 2013 at 8:04pm

Riva, thank you for your thoughts! Hope you've had a wonderful birthday. I'm only 6 months behind you...in age and diagnosis! I, too, was diagnosed at age 18 (in 1972)and celebrated 41 years of diabetes in August. No complications for me, either, and I live a much healthier life than many of my peers. I have a husband who is so supportive, yet he lets me live my life and control my diabetes as I know how to do! I try to live by many of your words, and I think you and I could be very good friends! My husband and I returned yesterday from our FIRST trip to New York City, and we LOVED it. We had so much fun, and we walked and walked and walked everywhere! OK, we took the subway a little bit too, but what an incredible city. Anyway, thanks again for your letter. Continue to take care!

Comment by Brunetta on September 3, 2013 at 12:48am

Thanks for your wonderful insights, Riva. I , too,will be sixty in 1 year and 4 months. You are living life to the fullest!!

God bless,
Brunetta

Comment by Trudy on September 3, 2013 at 5:30am

Hi Riva. My favorite is 4) Savor the simple stuff. I live a variation of it--my husband is the chef and I enjoy his company as we sip a glass of nice white wine. I like the dogs to be nearby also... My problem is patience, I've gotta learn to be patient. Many happy returns of your birthday! With a little luck, I'm soon to have my 83rd.

Comment by Emily Coles on September 6, 2013 at 2:31pm

I'm late, but.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Comment

You need to be a member of Diabetes community by Diabetes Hands Foundation: TuDiabetes to add comments!

Join Diabetes community by Diabetes Hands Foundation: TuDiabetes

Advertisement



REsources

From the Diabetes Hands Foundation blog...

DHF Partners with HelpAround in an Effort to Connect People Touched by Diabetes

  Leer en español Technology has the amazing ability to ease the stress associated with diabetes; It simply makes our lives a little more bearable. That’s why we are excited to announce DHFs partnership with HelpAround. This new application will help Read on! →

La Diabetes Hands Foundation y HelpAround uniendo las personas tocadas por la diabetes

  Para nuestra comunidad de diabetes la tecnología ha venido a llenar muchos vacíos y a hacer de nuestras vidas un poco mas llevaderas. Eso mismo nos proporciona una nueva aplicación de geo-localización llamada HelpAround (Ayuda a tu alrededor). HA Read on! →

Diabetes Hands Foundation Team

DHF TEAM

Manny Hernandez
(Co-Founder, Editor, has LADA)

Emily Coles
(Head of Communities, has type 1)

Mila Ferrer
(EsTuDiabetes Community Manager, mother of a child with type 1)

Mike Lawson
(Head of Experience, has type 1)

Corinna Cornejo
(Development Manager, has type 2)

Desiree Johnson  (Administrative and Programs Assistant, has type 1)


DHF VOLUNTEERS


Lead Administrator

Bradford (has type 1)


Administrators

Lorraine (mother of type 1)
Marie B (has type 1)

Brian (bsc) (has type 2)

Gary (has type 2)

David (dns) (type 2)

 

LIKE us on Facebook

Spread the word

Loading…

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

© 2014   A community of people touched by diabetes, run by the Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Badges  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Service