Great #DSMA Twitter Chat this past Wednesday night. There was lots of discussion about things we can, or should, do offline in addition to our online activities. Well, what can we do?
What can we do to help others living with and affected by diabetes? The Diabetes Online Community is great, but not everyone knows about our wonderful little fast lane on the information superhighway. How do they find out? And how do we make a difference for others outside of our online cocoon? Oddly, it’s often offline that people learn about online information, support, and understanding. And it’s certainly where many grass roots efforts make real differences for those in need. For me, that’s where connecting with people has made a huge difference. But in the abstract, it can seem overwhelming. When you break it down into little bites (or bytes), however, it’s not so big at all. Let me explain:
You see, when I think about it in general terms, I have trouble believing that I’ve made any impact at all offline. Yet, when I consider single, one-at-a-time events in my life recently…
– At a JDRF meeting nearly a year and a half ago, I saw a presentation that led me to connect with others, that has led to participation in one clinical trial, and hopefully another before the end of the year, that have the potential to help others living with diabetes.
– A blog post after superstorm Sandy compelled me to send extra durable medical supplies to people in need in New York.
– Thinking about my 15th anniversary at work this year inspired me to do some fundraising and #bluefridays support.
– Talking to my endocrinologist about my writing here has led her to give information about my blog to a few patients who, I hope, have connected beyond this page to a larger world of support and enlightenment.
– Going to in-person support group meetings, though rare, has allowed me to share what I’ve learned and discovered, online and offline, with people who have suffered burnout, stress, problems with insurance, and issues with understanding medical technology.
– And offline meetings like this one and this one and this one have helped me recharge my D-batteries, learn things I didn’t know before, and thaw my feelings toward my fellow man and woman in ways that I didn’t think was still possible.
Listen… I’ve only been at this blogging thing for a year and a half. I only discovered the DOC two years ago myself. I’m still a relative newbie at this thing. All of the things you see above are little things, small increments of change in my life that did not happen all at once. They happened because I thought, “Hey, why not? I can’t do everything, but I can do this one thing.”
My message here is: One thing at a time. Then one thing more. Then one thing more. You don’t have to invent something all on your own. None of the things I mentioned above were original ideas. They were things I saw that others were doing, and I thought I could maybe do them too. Eventually it became a body of support and advocacy that looks like I did a lot all at once, when it was really just one small thing at a time.
That’s how movements happen. It’s how the stone gets moved. That’s how small things become big things, and how big things become a groundswell, a steamroller that makes our lives meaningful and overwhelms indifference and apathy.
”You must be the change you wish to see in the world”—Mahatma Ghandi
Who are you, and what is your one thing?