Posted in #Future, Diabetes, Education, Life, Uncategorized

Diabetic Ramblings from a Friday

So it’s Friday, and it has been a weird, busy, and highly productive week.  Some days with diabetes are harder than others; some weeks are better than others.  This week has been a little rough.

One thing currently happening; I’m still fighting to get a new insulin pump.  The process has been frustrating and I’ve been denied four times already.  That said, my CDE, doctor and I have worked together to come up with a plan for how to get more documentation and show my insurance company that I really do need this!

The artificial pancreas technology looks AMAZING.  It looks like a new life; like one that makes me a little less inconvenient.  It looks like I might get a better chance at a normal mid-life; something I was hesitant to even day dream about before now. But here we are, and here is this great opportunity…and here is this insurance company trying to take away the awesome.  Sigh.  What is with this people?!

That said, I feel it is so important to remember that these individuals that are tasked with telling me no are not really telling me.  I let myself get out of control with my emotions a couple of weeks ago about it; I sat in my car and sobbed and screamed and interrupted my parents’ date day with a crazed phone call where I told them I was going to be done with insurance companies and just pay for the damn thing myself.

In that moment, my dad (who is notoriously hyper-focused and driven; much like I was in that moment),  shared an important note.  “This is not the first fight.  It’s not the last fight.  They just don’t see it yet.  You’re going to need to do a lot more fighting and make some clear decisions you can live with forever here. ”

He didn’t realize it completely, but I needed him to be my voice of reason.  I needed him to say it was okay to step back.  I needed him and my mom to share that they understood I was doing everything possible and that it was okay for me to refocus, try again, and take the weekend off from the craziness.

They gave me an important gift with that phone call and the ones following.  They reminded me that my ability to stay strong, upright, and kind, even in the most frustrating of situations, is one of my best qualities.

Thursday I was sitting in a meeting with a supervisor of mine, who shared that he could “See the leader in me”.  I like to think that the leader in me is someone who has bad days, but knows when to step back, take a deep breath, and re-assess the attack.

Today, I had to recognize that I was losing. I had to reassess my attack.  I was losing the week. I needed help; managing and trying and problem solving on my own wasn’t as productive, focused, or intelligent as I needed it to be.  I pride myself on getting things under control and on keeping myself focused and here I was, all week, fighting blood sugars that could have sent someone to the hospital. They really could’ve sent me to the hospital.  Thank goodness for a support system, technology, medication, and some solid math skills that kept that from happening!

But I called the hospital today, requested an appointment, explained that it was really important, and managed to get in with my CDE at the end of the day. Together we problem solved and she helped me figure out what tiny steps I could take to regaining control after having no control for about a week.  Tiny steps, but BIG steps in feeling like myself (which I haven’t, in at least week).

One of those steps was admitting that I’m not feeling well and that it’s not my diabetes. Even “normal” people get colds and the flu sometimes; it’s apparently a human thing.  I have been trying to power through.  I have not allowed myself the space, time, or mental relief of admitting that my body has been getting in the way of me doing and being my best self. I’m always just powering through. I’m forever living the “fake it til you make it” lifestyle that comes from a chronic illness others can’t see.  Sometimes I struggle to tell when I “genuinely” am sick and when it’s “just” a diabetes problem.  Today, and this week, it turns out it’s a little of both.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I suspect there are a lot of us who don’t feel amazing every day. I suspect most of us carry on and don’t say anything. I assume some of us feel guilty about complaining because there are so many moments we should be thankful for. I hear you folks! I’m with you!

So here’s to a weekend of relaxing, getting some much needed rest, and trying my best to recuperate and regain control of my blood sugars.  Happy weekend everyone!

 

 

 

Posted in #Future, Education, Professional Experiences, Uncategorized

Women & Work-Life Initiatives

In the modern world, a larger percentage of women work outside of the home than ever before resulting in unique demands from work and home.  While the contributions these women make to their families financially have changed, the amount of responsibility for their homes and families are often still higher than their partners.  For many women the demands of their household conflict with the demands of their professional lives making the work-life balance more challenging than ever before.  Due to these increased demands on women for work-life balance, it is necessary for the field of human resources to implement work-life balance initiatives such as shared jobs and increased options for flexible hours and compensation programs to meet the growing needs of women in the workforce.

Women still play a primary role in the care of their homes and families.  One study, conducted by Schiebinger and Gilmartin on female scientists in some of the top research facilities in the country, states that “…despite women’s considerable gains in science in recent decades, female scientists do nearly twice as much housework as their male counterparts” (Schiebinger & Gilmartin, 39).  Although this study only researched women in the science field, the trends of women completing more domestic tasks than their heterosexual partners is relatively consistent throughout the history of women in the workplace.

The impacts of higher levels of stress and demands from home have challenging and detrimental effects on the workplace as well as the workforce.  Workers who cannot find a work-life balance struggle with “higher rates of absenteeism and turnover, reduced productivity,decreased job satisfaction, lower levels of organizational commitment and loyalty, [and] rising health care costs” (Hobson, Delunas, & Kesic, 39). These issues lead to businesses losing some of their best work and result in further issues for businesses that could have been solved through work-life balance initiatives. For female workers especially, who are often primary caregivers for their children and responsible for a large part of the daily functions of their homes, these initiatives are particularly important.

Women are socially expected to be present at their children’s functions, keep up with their housework, care for their aging parents and “drop everything” when their spouses or family need them.  When women do not meet these expectations, they often feel a sense of push back from the people around them, including other women in the workplace.  This idea of being everything for everyone leads to a challenging conundrum when women are working outside of the home; how can businesses help women find a balance between their careers and their lives?

Some organizations have begun taking this into account through programs such as job sharing.  Unlike flex time positions which may still require full time hours condensed into a smaller work week and part time positions, which provide limited benefits and often make it difficult for professional advancement, job sharing allows for more full time benefits and opportunities while still providing coverage and scheduling flexibility (Kane, 28).  For women in job sharing roles, Kane found that women were happier in their positions, had a better overall sense of well-being and had a better sense of balance in their lives.

The well-being of employees and their families and the impact that household demands have on women may also be combated through additional services and benefits being offered by employers.  In combination with more flexible hours and job sharing opportunities, including benefits packages that “provide benefits to support housework” (Schiebinger & Gilmartin, 40) and offering additional benefits and assistance in times of need or stress may be a solution for improving work-life balance for women.  “Employer recognition, acknowledgement, and understanding of these challenges, coupled with effective support programs can be invaluable in helping employees cope successfully,” particularly in higher stress times of need for families (Hobson, Delunas, & Kesic, 40).

While many businesses have begun to take the concerns of all employees, the impact that work-life initiatives could have on women’s ability to juggle the demands of their lives and their careers is absolutely necessary for the improvement of women’s work conditions, general well-being, and their productivity. Schiebinger and Gilmartin proposed in their study that “…institutions provide a package of flexible benefits that employees can customize to support aspects of their private lives in ways that save time and enhance professional productivity” (40).  This flexible benefits option would be beneficial to all employees, and the customizable options would provide female workers the opportunity to build a plan which works best for them and their family’s needs.

 

These flexible benefits and scheduling hours have particular importance during times of stress for families.  In a study performed by Hobson, Delunas, & Kesic, three thousand one hundred twenty-two working individuals in the United States were surveyed about what they considered to be the most stressful events in their life and explored how work-life balance initiatives must be implemented to support employees and build loyalty and productivity within the companies.  The research also provided a case study, which supported the research that by offering managerial support in times of grief or familial strain, and supporting employees with whatever time and efforts could be afforded by the business, employees were more productive and had a much larger amount of loyalty for their organization (Hobson, Delunas, & Kesic, 41).

Combining flexible benefits and scheduling options with a better understanding of the demands placed on women in developing work-life balance will benefit all employees, workplaces and our society. Work-life balance results in happier and healthier female employees who are able to focus on their work and still care for their families, resulting in better productivity and healthier, happier individuals and families.

 

Work Cited

Hobson, C.J., Delunas, L., & Kesic, D. (2001). Compelling Evidence of the Need for Corporate Work/Life Balance Initiatives: Results from a National Survey of Stressful Life-Events.  Journal of Employment Counseling, 38 (1), 38-44.

Kane, D. (1996). A Comparison of Job Satisfaction and General Well-Being for Job Sharing and Part-Time Female Employees. Guidance and Counseling. 11 (3), 27-30.

Schiebinger, L., & Gilmartin, S.K.  (2010). Housework Is An Academic Issue.   Academe, 96 (1), 39-44.

 

As originally submitted for credit at Elmira College in the Corporate & Community Education program. 

Posted in #Future, Imagination, Life, Uncategorized

As good a time as any…

Every year at this time, people make resolutions to better their lives.  I do the same thing.  Recently, I have noticed several articles regarding the concept of self-awareness and accepting responsibility for the things in your life that are not the way you’d hoped.

I think there’s really something to this.  Now seems as good a time as any to determine the importance of taking one’s destiny.

My business did okay this year, but I have been dragging my feet about marketing to a broader range of clients.  I know how to do it, and I train other people how to do it, but I haven’t done it.  Why? Because what if I fall on my face, and the people who think I won’t be successful are actually right?

I’ve not applied as seriously for as many, full time, big human resource positions as I could.  Because I am afraid. I am concerned  that if I take a new position, it will take me a long time to be as confident or comfortable as I am now…comfortable is a killer.

Another year has passed and my book isn’t finished.  Not surprising, as I’ve been struggling to focus in.  But also not surprising because I’m afraid of the rejection of publishers.  Pouring my soul into something only to be told it’s not good enough has long been a fear of mine.  Now is as good a time as any to admit that.

2016 is over, and I still haven’t lost thirty pounds.  I always resolve that I will;  but I haven’t.  I still haven’t run a marathon.  I still haven’t gotten my A1C (a test used to measure blood sugar over a period of time) under 7.0.  I’m still waiting to do those things, because what if I try really hard and nothing good happens? What if I get myself into the best physical condition of my life only to find out that it doesn’t matter and the diabetes has done too much damage to live my life the way I want?

The fact is,sometimes not trying is easier than failing.  Sometimes, it seems like by trying you’re really just running on a treadmill-endlessly wearing yourself out.

Even more terrifying: what if they’re wrong? What if I really do all these things?  What if I’m a huge overnight success and I don’t have to struggle and people hate me for it? Who am I to deserve to meet my goals? What if I win?

The fact is, the posts about taking responsibility are hitting home for me this holiday season.  I did accomplish several of my goals, and that should count for something with me.  I was a better friend, a better sibling and daughter and granddaughter this year. I stood up for myself and took pride in my work.  I did, at least, start my foray into working for myself.  I traveled all over the world and the US with my family and the man I love, and I didn’t apologize for taking care of myself.  I took some pride in me, and I saw progress.

But now is as good a time as any to admit that 2017 looks a little daunting, but like a mountain I want to climb.

I accept that I will have to beat me. I have to win against myself, and that means falling on my face.  I know this. I also know I might fail, but at least some of these things must get done this year.  This time I have to win, and that means accepting responsibility for my own sabotage.

Regular updates to follow. Similar resolutions, because I need goals.  Hopeful progress to share.

(P.S. How cute is this picture of us on our recent adventure to New Orleans? We’re in the Garden District here!)

Stay motivated everyone!

 

 

Posted in #Future, Uncategorized

Facing the Facts

So I am either excellent at upkeep of my own blog and online presence…

…or I’m the absolute worst at it.

There is ZERO in between.  Unfortunately, I’d like to mention that this is because my brain so often refuses to settle down, follow the list, and do what it is told.  Instead, it tells me that we are out of milk…at 2AM. It then proceeds to tell me we really should have watched that documentary last night…at 2PM, when I’m supposed to be functioning in my day job like a normal adult. Exhausting.

I’ve always struggled a little with follow through and focus.  I’ve been assessed for ADD and ADHD at least five times, all to no avail.  Instead, I’m just super creative and sort of flighty with most of my daily function items.  It comes with the territory, I guess?

So why am I mentioning this now?  Because it looks like I haven’t done anything on here in months.  Several months in fact, and that is not quite the case.  I’ve added pages, taken on new projects and clients, and have even done some new jobs since the last time I actually posted here.

Additionally, I’m trying some new methods of getting organized and focusing. It’s challenging, but I’m making slow and steady progress.  Thus far, I’m seeing some success, and I’m hoping my regular postings on here and the completion of my novel in 2017 will reflect that.

This is also the time of year where a few interesting things happen for me.  One of which is that I generally slip into a really irritating seasonal funk.  It is one that is managed only through travel, creative outlets, and a lot of time at the gym.  Additionally, this is also the time of year where I reflect and focus in.  With the world in a cold, dark state here in New York, it becomes vital to make goals, make plans, and stick to them before we run out of daylight.  There’s so little of it.

Here’s to more conclusive writing on a more regular schedule with better outcomes for my to-do lists in the coming months!

 

 

 

Posted in #Future, Life, Professional Experiences

So it’s been a while…

The past year has been one of the most intense of my life.

I’m not trying to make excuses for not writing on here, it’s just the truth.  Every moment of the past year has been spent trying to accomplish something.  Even in the relaxing moments, things were crazy and busy and painful and intense and exciting and happy and, and, and… overwhelming.

Can you be underwhelmed? Just whelmed? I’m not sure, but I know, without a doubt, that “overwhelmed” explains my absence of blogging.  To recap:

I graduated from Elmira College with my Masters in Corporate and Community Education plus a certification in Training of Trainers AND Human Resource Development.

…and I kept my perfect GPA (not to brag, but I should get to brag a little, right?!).

I went on an AMAZING, last minute, no planning time at all trip with my parents and sister to Haiti & Jamaica and once again, fell in love with snorkeling and cruise ships.

I went on the TRIP OF A LIFETIME with my significant other to Norway, Finland, and Estonia.  Two weeks off work to travel around Europe with nothing but the man I love, a backpack, and some hiking shoes? Yes, please! Sign me up for round two!

I had a few HUGE professional successes, including growing my education program to three times its original size this year, creating holiday joy and building relationships in my office environment, bringing on additional interns from other companies for learning experiences, AND creating another entirely new and wholly successful community outreach program. (Again, sorry, bragging but I worked A LOT for this!)

I lost a few friends, made some more, reconnected with old friends and established friends in every facet of my life successfully, for the first time ever.

My little sister got her learner’s permit and my brother and his wife bought farm animals and established their own business.

My Mom fought diligently for what she believes she and other educators in her district deserved, and eventually came to an agreement at the end of a very long, multiple year battle. She’s so much more vocal and confident than she was when I was a kid, and it’s cool to see her shine and know she’s shining.

My Dad adopted more animals and people, taking employees under his wing who needed coaching and staying a constant motivator in my life.  He’s growing into someone very different, more calm and warm and encouraging, different from who he was when I was a kid, but I kind of like it.  It’s cool to see who he’s becoming too.

I learned a TON about digital media and began blogging and writing for other people. Both fun and scary.

And I experienced some of the biggest health scares related to my diabetes that I ever have.

I’m thinking that covers it.  Again, just a quick recap on everything to explain my absence…in case you were wondering.

Ideally, I’ll be able to keep up a better schedule now that school, my various trips, and my job are starting to settle down or are finished.  I’m heading to a writers’ conference in a few weeks, so ideally I’d like to share this blog if I can at that conference. We’ll see how it goes.

 

 

Posted in #Future, Imagination, Life

How Do You Choose A Life?

This post was accidentally placed on acmacx.wordpress.com. This is the official site of A.C.Macx…I was simply outsmarted by my blog before this, which is how it ended up on the other blog name I own.  My apologies!

This week in many ways was stark, emotionally revealing and enriching in my life.  I recognized some patterns and some things about my life that I hadn’t anticipated reckoning with.  It was a great experience, but it was an exceptionally challenging one.

Throughout my life I feel like I have always imagined and envisioned multiple versions of what would happen as I aged.  Would l live on a sprawling farm or would I own a tiny apartment in the heart of a city? I imagined both.  Would I get married young and have a bunch of children or would I wait until I was older, after years of living on my own before getting married and adopting children who desperately need homes?  What would my life look like? How would I choose one?

How would I choose one?

Since then, I still imagine and envision what my life will eventually look like.  Much of this week was focused on my five year plan, what I’m doing professionally, what my personal life is going to look like, etc. With so many options, there was a lot of talk about my past and what I’ve already managed to do.

So what am I going to do?

I don’t know.

I’m infuriated by the fact that I have to say that I don’t know.  There are so many great things, and so many things that I want to change in my life for one direction or another that I am struggling to focus in on one great thing to do.  I’m terrified of not having the answers, but I’m fairly confident that I will end up successful in whatever direction I create because somehow I always am. I’m either really lucky, insanely motivated, frighteningly driven, and consistently insane.

I’m exhausted and wish I could pause, pop in another direction and then come back to this at a later time after I’ve seen other potential outcomes.  There are daily moments where I’d really like to try something else.

But life is not a VCR, so that is not an option. The whole thing just moves forward and pausing is an imagination gone wild.