Today marks the last day of diabetes awareness month. This got me to thinking (more). What IS diabetes awareness?

The obvious answer involves education and information exchanges–but I believe that it needs to go beyond the abstract. It must have legs. I am a very practical person. In fact I managed to give a 5 minute dissertation today about cargo shorts after being challenged on my choice of wardrobe–in short, I do what works, I wear what works and I don’t much care that I don’t look like a Hugo Boss mannequin as a result.

So why do we need to raise awareness? Let’s hypothetically say that everyone in the world becomes “aware” of diabetes. Every person on the street that I pass when I go into Manhattan (that’s how you know this really is hypothetical) stops and asks how my glucose readings have been today and all have Jolly Ranchers and Starbursts at the ready in case any of us diabetics have a hypoglycemic episode. No one has to ask  “why aren’t you fat? I thought all diabetics were fat…” or tells us that we should be thankful we don’t have a “legit disease, like cancer”.

Ok. Now what?

Now what-what do we DO with that awareness? What are the changes that we need to make or the action that needs to be taken? As in many areas of my life, I have decided to take the ass-backwards approach. Action first, awareness later. Climbing and being active, living simply while making fitness and a healthy diet our priority and sharing that journey to show that if we can do it then other people can too–that is our action. It is beyond one month of the year, it is a lifestyle. Embracing diabetes as a challenge that will raise our game to a higher level if we accept the rules of the game that we have to play.

I am happy to participate in diabetes awareness month. I am happy to wear blue on Fridays. I am happy to have an excuse to paint my nails electric blue. At the end of the day though, that is just the prequel to the main event, which is what we CAN DO with the awareness we have and what that means about what YOU can do too.