The California Gold Rush and Diabetes
Historians generally point to one result of and one big reason for the California Gold Rush. It is an interesting idea especially in terms of what the big reason was as it relates to diabetes. So I hope you (the reader) do not mind a bit of a history lesson.
As we know In 1846 Gold was found by James Marshall at Sutter Mill CA. That event is generally credited with the beginning of the gold rush. However before that time gold was known to be in deposits around CA by the native peoples as well as people of Spanish ancestry. The difference in the two discoveries was 1. Creditability (whites took the word of other whites much more than native peoples) and 2. The advent of recognized transportation links. The first such link was the loosely termed the Argonaut trail, which was not a trial rather steam ship passage to Panama or Mexico followed by overland routes. Perhaps the more popular route came to be known as the California trail. The California Trail crossed NV generally ending in Carson City and then into the CA gold country or if the person were really adventurous north along the Oregano trail. All ways to CA were arduous and full of peril.
Generally it is believed that most of the 49er’s, the term loosely applied to those who went in search of the riches, failed. Those who made a great deal of money were the supplies, outfitters and provider of services to the miners. While it is true a few miners make a great deal of money, it is also true that most (the vast majority) when broke and many of those went broke more than once. One outgrowth of the California Gold rush is the system of land ownership that developed in CA. It was one of the first landf legal systems incorporated into law in the West and it was remarkable in an era when the biggest bad man owned the land. Such was the case in places like Deadwood South Dakota, areas outside Cheyenne WO and most of CO.
None of that has anything to do with diabetes. What does have something to do with Diabetes is the notion of perfection in the East. Many social historians believe that the Gold rush was triggered by an eastern tradition of intolerance for failure. The Eastern culture in this time really disliked failure. In fact for many, failure was considered a sin. Let’s face it failure does create some issues. First failure means one does not pay their debt. Second, in a country full of promise it meant that the person who failed was not “Godly” enough to get the spiritual inspiration to be right. This secured a sort of class system. If you are told over and over you are not Godly enough you might (probably would) think twice about trying. If you don’t try you cannot raise your social status.
How many times have we tried and failed as Diabetics? How does failure make us feel? Are we like the 49er’s prompted to go somewhere else and make our own rules? Or are we prompted to buckle under and give up our dreams? What prompted the 49ers n part was an undying idea that they could be rich. I suppose what prompts us in the beginning is our undying belief in feeling better. What kept the 49ers prospecting was their knowledge that failure was acceptable. A man could fail, and even sometimes on the same day start anew.
We get that chance to start anew every day. Let’s head west, or east, or whatever direction and take that chance. When we fail we do not have to stay in place and never try again. We can pick ourselves up and start again. We can go forward, but to be healthy we cannot simply stay put. We have to try again after a failure. Yes sometimes the very same day.
Here is to starting over, after every failure.