My Diabetes Midlife Crisis

It was a beautiful spring evening. I was driving home alone and had stopped at a stoplight across from a burger place our family used to visit long ago. Suddenly, through the open car window I caught the delicious scent of burgers and fries, and I was transformed to back when our boys were young. I remembered them laughing, eating, and telling us silly stories at a table just inside the restaurant. I remembered the taste of the food that I generally steer clear of nowadays. I became overwhelmingly sad.
The sadness was over several things. I’m coming up on my 21st anniversary of life with Type 1 diabetes, and I’m having a hard time with it. Though I’ve had diabetes for all those years, I feel like that means I really need to be on my guard. I feel like I have to be cautious about what foods I eat, how much exercise I get, and where my blood sugars are. I feel like I am having a diabetes midlife crisis of sorts. I’m scared and sad about having diabetes for so many years.
I’m also sad because, in addition to my diabetes midlife crisis, I feel like I’m having one when it comes to life in general. I adopted my husband’s children when they were just 3 and 7. They are 19 and 23 now and out on their own. I miss having my family. I miss the normalcy of family dinners, family movie-nights, and just lazy Sundays with the four of us. Life changes so fast. I wish someone had told me to appreciate it more when they were young. I wish they had encouraged me to be even more loving, and even more aware of how precious that time was. Now we’re empty nesters, and though it definitely had its perks, it also has its moments of loneliness.
Getting older is hard. From body changes, family changes, to life changes, getting older offers many challenges. When you have diabetes, you tend to worry about the future, sometimes too much. I had a heart-to-heart with my husband because I was becoming moody and feeling a little too emotional. It turns out we both miss when the boys were little. We both miss being able to eat the foods we love, without worrying about what was going to happen tomorrow.
He helped me to look at the positive side of things. We are both are proud of ourselves too. We eat low-carb the majority of the time. We exercise almost every day. My diabetes is more under control than ever before. The boys are grown and starting their own lives. Someday maybe we’ll have grandchildren to enjoy with them. We should look at all we have accomplished. We can make this next chapter of our lives really great if we remember to be grateful for what we do have instead of focusing on what’s gone.
Life isn’t perfect. We aren’t perfect. That is okay. We are simply not supposed to be. I am working on forgiving myself for my past mistakes, both with diabetes, and with being a mom. If you are struggling with diabetes or life, in general, please talk to someone. Letting your family in on what has been eating at you, can make a world of difference.
Meagan Esler

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