“This Year Will Be Different!”

How often is it that we start a new year and tell ourselves that this year is going to be different?

I’m going to lose weight.

I’m going to quit drinking.

I’m going to get healthier.

I’m going to become more spiritual.

I’m going to take some vacation time.

I’m going to spend more time with my family.

I’m going to be nicer to my friends.

I’m going to find a new job.

I’m going to move to a new home.

I’m going to start saving money.

I’m going to…

Is this you?

I know it’s definitely been me.

Year after year, a new cycle of calendar year would begin with the ball dropping on New Year’s Eve and I would take a fresh outlook on the next 365 days. And somewhere along the lines, I would find myself again watching the next New Year’s Eve ball come down and telling myself what happened to this past year, why didn’t I do any of those things that I said I wanted to do.

Why did I always live for tomorrow? Why did I live for how much better my life might get tomorrow? Why do I long for what the future may hold instead of working on myself in today?

I’m sure for each person it’s different. There were times I stayed in jobs hoping that it might get better one day. I stayed in relationships hoping that they might improve over time, that the person might treat me better, might love me more, etc. I made plans to get healthier and take care of myself more but felt the task was too daunting to take the first action in achieving it so I’d sit back and do nothing but watch TV.

That changed because I was given chronic pain to endure for awhile. I been living with it now for just about 3 years. When it first started, I sat on the sidelines and thought it was just going to pass over time. I figured if I did nothing in my life different and just kept going on with how things were, it would slowly dissipate. I waited for God to basically just come in and fix me. What I didn’t realize is that there were actions I needed to take too. Things that were coming out of my self will that God had given me free will to do in the first place. There were actions I was doing in my life that were keeping me perpetually in pain. Much of it was due to the people I was spending time with, the actions I was doing with them and the way I was treating everyone everyday. My life was totally self-centered and I only thought of what I could get out of everything instead of what I could put into something.

About a year ago that began to change. My chronic pain hadn’t alleviated. If anything it had gotten worse. So when 2012 began, I took action. And that year began something new for me. I stopped living for what tomorrow was going to bring me and I started living in today on how I could be a better, healthier, more God centered individual. In doing so, I removed all those toxic people from my life, I prayed more, meditated more, spent more time at recovery meetings and places where I could share my own experience, strength and hope, and learned how to spend time taking myself out and doing things that I still could in the pain I was in. “Take yourself out on a date” my therapist had told me more than once. So I finally did. And I still do.

I’m getting healthier each and every day now. Spiritually, mentally, and emotionally I have definitely gotten relief from the levels of pain I had once felt in those areas every day. And physically, well, I know that relief is coming soon. I believe that because I place God first in my life, and am taking actions each day to get healthier, that the physical pain will leave me when it’s meant to.

Do I hope for a better tomorrow, one where I don’t have as much physical pain? Of course. I have hope. It’s what keeps me going sometimes. My hope is with God though, that I won’t be left in this place of pain. BUT, I am not sitting on the sidelines just wanting everything to be better because of God snapping His fingers or the universe aligning just perfectly for Andrew to have a good life. I am doing my part, to take action, to set plans, to lay forth a better tomorrow, a better week, and a better year, one where God is at the helm.

That age old adage is true…don’t wait for tomorrow for what you can start doing today. If you have a goal for this year, make a plan to achieve it and start doing actions towards it every day.

Today is all I have. I may not be here tomorrow. So, I try each today to live it to the best I can, the fullest that I can, where God is driving my bus.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson