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It’s May, Spring is here and Mother Nature may finally allow you to put away that heavy parka.

Now that is something to celebrate! On that note, let’s talk celebration. What does it mean? What should we celebrate? Why should we celebrate?

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, celebration can be defined as “…mark[ing] (something, such as an anniversary) by festivities or other deviation from routine” (2017). Myself, this month I’ll be celebrating 11 years as a healthy T1D as well as one year working as a flight attendant. I will be celebrating these accomplishments by taking a vacation with my oldest sister. For others, celebrations may look different, however it is highly important that we take the time to acknowledge situations in our lives that deserve a cheer.

As I mentioned, I am celebrating one year working as a flight attendant. A flight attendant comes with responsibilities that extend far beyond pouring a Ginger Ale for a passenger on their flight from Toronto to Moncton Airport. In fact, it involves wearing many hats including a firefighter, a first responder, a waste collector, an occasional babysitter, an evacuation specialist, and in general a professional in safety procedures. Qualifications for all these titles in order to be up in the air, one must complete and pass five intense weeks of initial training with several exams. Every anniversary following, you must complete annual recertification training. This involves completing a very tedious workbook, successful completion of two exams, and a full day of safety drills.

Having completed the workbook and the two exams as part of my recertification, and now approaching the safety drill portion, I recognize the pressure I put on myself to excel. Strangely, I found myself irritated that I scored an average of 96% on both exams despite the grade requirement standard of 75%. On reflection, I realized I put the same pressure and irritation on myself in my diabetes management. An example is when I test my blood sugar, calculate carbs, take exercise into consideration, follow the “equation”, and still don’t end up with that 5.5 blood sugar I often see on glucose meter advertisements. I think the thing to remember is, while it may not be that absolute perfect result, the effort and determination to achieve the result was there. I am human. I am a not computer with all the answers to the exams, and most importantly I cannot replace the precision of a functional pancreas. There is always going to be a margin of error, and it is all around us. Let’s appreciate the hard work we we all put in as diabetics and remind ourselves that in life and in diabetes management it’s the journey that we celebrate and not the destination.

Cheers, from your fellow T1D flight attendant.

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