Until very recently, I didn’t really believe that a person could have a life dream and actually have it come true. Dreams were just those – dreams. But, when my 20-year-old dream to bicycle to 48 of the 50 states in the US came true, that all changed. Now I firmly believe in having life dreams to pursue. I believe that nothing – not the changing of personal circumstances and not the passage of time – should cause a person to give up on their dreams.
Life with diabetes
My personal circumstances changed when I was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes in 1974 at the age of 14. From that point on, people who learned about my diabetes would immediately have ideas about what kind of person I was, what I could and couldn’t eat, and so on. And, sadly, there were many things that people assumed I couldn’t do simply because I had diabetes. For 10 years after diagnosis, I struggled to control my diabetes. Then, in 1984, I started bicycling and in 1986, I went on my very first bicycle tour. Even before I finished that tour, I had decided that I wanted to see the rest of the US by bicycle. My dream was born.
Since then, I have worked very hard to keep my diabetes in control. Exercise, especially bicycling, has played an important role in controlling my diabetes. It’s a form of exercise that I really enjoy because of the physical and mental challenges it offers. But, it also offers a form of meditation for me. My mind is clear and I do my best thinking when I am riding comfortably on a quiet trail or residential road, and all the chatter in my mind melts away.
Through bicycling and other forms of exercise, educating myself about my condition, and working closely with my healthcare providers, I’ve managed to live well with diabetes and control my diabetes rather than letting it control me. To not do this would mean to give up on myself and to give up on the chance to make my dream come true. It is that dream that has motivated me on many occasions. That dream has motivated me to bicycle nearly 160,000 km over the last 20 years. That’s why I think that having dreams is important for everybody and especially for people with diabetes, or any kind of chronic condition – it gives them a reason to keep their condition under control.
Dreams come true. It happened to me; it can happen for you too!