Monday, November 9, 2009

What's in a number?

I seek epiphanies. I love that moment when a light bulb goes off, the heavens open, light streams through the skies, and whatever discovery I've made lightens my world for a moment and ultimately changes my life, and sometimes even those around me.

That's how it felt when I had my blood sugar epiphany.

Some background: Diabetics are supposed to check their blood sugars on a regular basis. The blood sugar check provides us with a number that lets us know if the amount of sugar in our bloodstream is right on track, too high, too low, or borderline trouble-waiting-to-happen. I check my blood sugar around 8 to 10 times a day. The good part about checking blood sugars is that the number provides all diabetics with information for taking appropriate action - bring the sugar up, take the sugar down or leave it as it is.

The trick is keeping the numbers at a healthy level, and trust me, that is not an easy feat. You see, lots of things affect blood sugars besides sugar - exercise, food, amount of insulin injected, stress, hormones, and more. The unpredictability of all this can be quite frustrating and physically exhausting.

The big epiphany - and inspiration for this blog - came one day about 4 years ago. I was sitting around with some friends at work. I felt a little funny, and knew that I needed to check my sugar. I pulled out my meter, pricked my finger, and tested. When I read the number, I must have let out a good, "Uffff," while thinking to myself, 'Why is it so high? What did I do wrong????'

That's when my friend said to me, "Wow, it's amazing. You judge yourself based on your blood sugar reading," and she smiled. (I'm still incredibly impressed that she came to this eye-opening and deep reflection based on nothing more than my loud, frustrated grunt.)

Time froze, the heavens opened, the angels sang, and suddenly I realized that I had been basing my whole self-value system on that unpredictable blood sugar reading. I had become attached to the numbers. What's really crazy is that the number would probably just wind up changing 10 minutes later. I felt absolutely ridiculous at the time. Seriously, it's a number. How could I base my whole self-worth on an unpredictable, ever-changing number????? Years of frustration, and my friend refuted those awful feelings in an instant.

This discovery was so big for me that I spent lots of time really thinking it through. Could these value judgments based on numbers hold true for other things as well? We all have so many numbers surrounding our lives: age, salary, zip code, weight. Have I based my self-worth on other numbers besides my blood sugars? You betcha!

Could this be true for others as well?

If this feeling rings even slightly true for you, as it does for me, or if you are getting thoroughly annoyed by my even mentioning it, then, it's a real possibility that numbers mean more to you than just a piece of information.

So here's the real deal: Our age is constantly changing - every millisecond of every day of every year. Salaries go up and down, as this economy has taught us all. Zip codes are really there to help the postman deliver the mail, and not a judgment on where you live. Weight fluctuates constantly.

The reality is: We are all valuable for who we are. It's really that simple. The numbers are simply there providing information. They let us know how many candles to buy for a birthday cake, keep a budget, and google an address. The numbers do not hold emotion or feelings. They are not making a statement as to who or what we are. The numbers are for information purposes only, knowledge to help us take appropriate action. With my blood sugar reading, I know whether to adjust my insulin or food. It's that simple. Really, it is.

Numbers do not judge; people do. I may not like the numbers I see sometimes, but that's for me to decide, not the number.


Have you had any moving epiphanies that you'd like to share? Please do in the comment box below!

No comments:

Post a Comment