I have been a Celiac for over 10 years now. As I'm sure you know, having Celiac changes your whole life. What you may not realize yet, is that is can actually change your life for the better. Since my diagnosis all those years ago, I have been less than eager to stand up for myself and make sure that I can have some of the food at work lunches and events. I have also been less than eager to advocate for more awareness of Celiac Disease and the need for gluten free foods. However, 2014 changed all of that for me.
At the beginning of this year, I made a promise...to be true to myself. I can honestly say, for the first time in quite a while, I kept my New Years resolution. I advocated for myself and my Celiac Disease, and what I discovered really surprised me. When you tell someone you have Celiac Disease and have to eat gluten free food, you don't expect to hear "I know someone who has that". More often that not, that is exactly what I heard. Telling people about my Celiac Disease did not make me feel like an outsider as I feared it would.
Another fear that I fought this year, was the fear of change. I have always been a creature of habit, but this year definitely changed that. In October, I made the decision to change careers. This was a huge step for me as I had been with this employer for seven long years. I was so scared of changing things that I stayed in a job that made me miserable, and honestly, kept me from doing a lot of things that I really wanted to do. So, I overcame my fear, and became a teacher. This was a huge move for me, but as it turns out, I love it. I can actually see the difference that I can make for some of my students, and that is a feeling I would hate to have missed.
After switching jobs, the life changes continued. I started dating a really great guy who is probably more eager than I am to advocate for my being gluten free. He has truly been amazing at making sure I can eat at family dinners, and eat safely when we go out. He loves eating the gluten free foods that I make, and truly loves me. As many of you may understand, when I got diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I began to doubt that I would ever find someone who would be able to deal with my Celiac Disease and the restrictions it put on me. Life really surprised me with him. Now after a few months of dating, we are getting married!
2014 was a challenging year for me, but I learned some of the most important lessons of my life during this year. The first, never be afraid to advocate for yourself. Second, don't let fear keep you from living your life. Finally, the most important lesson of all...change can be scary, but sometimes you have to turn your life upside down to end up where you belong. It's worth the change to end up happy.