When I started this endeavor almost three years ago, I didn’t know if I would make it to five blog posts, much less five hundred. I knew from previous experience that I could write 500 different things, so durability wasn’t an issue. The real question was, would I even want to write as many as five hundred? Of course, I also wondered from time to time whether anyone would be interested in reading even one thing I might want to write about. For the record, I still ask myself those questions.
When I started Happy Medium, I had three ideas in mind. I refer you to my original post for the actual wording…
1. Stay humble. Don’t try to be a rock star. This rule is mostly so I can remind myself that no matter how big success is, it never seems to be enough. There really is a lot of truth and solace to be found in just doing the best you can. I do this for others and for me. It’s not my job. Keeping all this in mind frees me to write from the heart, and write the truth too.
2. Try to help where I can. It’s no secret that there’s a lot of need in the Diabetes Community. What’s the sense in being part of a community if you don’t contribute to it?
3. Enjoy the process. I love to write, and the idea that I can share information, tell my story, and advocate for others living with or affected by diabetes makes me feel more engaged, more useful.
How am I doing with all of those? The easy way out would be for me to say it’s up to you, the reader, to decide. But if I’m being honest with myself, I think I’m doing okay on Number 1, I could do more on Number 2, and Number 3? I still need to loosen up a bit. Trust me, I am working on it. I think the best way to describe it is to say that I’m content, but despite my best efforts, there are days when the unbridled enthusiasm for life I felt some years ago still eludes me. I haven’t yet figured out why.
I will admit that sometimes (like in this post and my previous one) I write primarily for myself. Fortunately, no one has castigated me for it yet. Some things I’ve been involved in have been great, like two different D Blog Check-in days, three different editions of Diabetes Blog Week, my attendance at the Manning Diabetes Symposium in 2013, and an FDA workshop last November. Other things haven’t worked out as well as I’d hoped, like when I went through JDRF mentor training two and a half years ago, only to be asked to mentor no one because people my age are almost never diagnosed with Type 1. I still get an occasional e-mail asking me to volunteer to be a mentor, and it’s kind of depressing.
I truly felt honored to participate in clinical trials over the past two years, and our Champion Athletes With Diabetes medals have been given to 26 brave souls so far. Each one of those stories warms my heart. In each letter I receive, I’m touched by how much people feel inside about something they are physically involved in.
In addition to writing, I love to cook too, and I’ve been able to post a few recipes. One of my most interesting learning experiences involved writing about living gluten free for a week as though I were newly diagnosed with celiac disease (for the record, I do not live with celiac).
I think it’s safe to say that all of these experiences, and so many more, would not have happened without first having learned as much as I have from others who also write about diabetes and advocate for others while living with this condition.
I have learned a lot through this experience. I’ve managed to embarrass myself once or twice. I’ve had the typical highs and lows. I’ve tried to be fair. I have also managed (crossing my fingers) to avoid some of the trolls who have been a pain to some of my other blogging friends.
What I don’t want to do is hang on too long. After 35 years or so, I want to continue to learn and grow as a writer, because I am totally self-taught, this is my first experience writing on the internet, and I’m sure there is much that I don’t know. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.
But I don’t want to write just for the sake of writing. I’m not closing up this blog just yet. But I’m thinking about it. Honestly, I always think about it. I think it’s right to examine what you’re doing from time to time, ask yourself whether you’re meeting your goals, and whether it really means anything at all. If I write for one more week or one more decade, I will probably continue to do this.
Mostly, I’m grateful that people engage with me through this medium honestly, sharing their feelings without reservation. I could and would still write without any feedback, but knowing you care about things as deeply as you do humbles me. So often, you make me want to be like you.
And if you’re out there thinking about telling your story, through a blog or Facebook or Twitter or some other avenue, my advice is: Yes, absolutely, do it. You will find it rewarding and cathartic. Like I said over a year and a half ago,
Your story is the most important one in the world to the person who is moved by it. Don’t let down the one person who needs to hear you.
I’m satisfied with my first 500 blog posts. But the fire in my belly says that I want to make each one from this point forward better than ever. Here’s to another… one, in a couple of days.