Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday, where finding something to be grateful for is always the focus of these entries, which for today is actually for something I’ve struggled to be thankful for over the past few years and precisely why I’m choosing to rectify that by expressing a little gratitude for the city I currently live in, that being Toledo, Ohio.
When I came to Toledo, Ohio to live full time back in February of 2014, I was so excited to finally be moving in with my partner after two years of long-distance dating from over 600 miles away. The following year, as my health issues multiplied and my pain levels drastically increased, I found myself starting to bash this city. That’s when I began fixating on all the negative things I perceived to be wrong with Toledo, when in all reality, there were still a large number of things to be grateful for with my life here.
Of course, first and foremost, I’m forever thankful for the fact that Toledo is my partner’s hometown and for knowing how much this city means to him. There’s a wealth of cherished memories he has from here that he’s shared with me along the way and that’s helped me quite a bit to see Toledo in a much brighter light. But beyond that, I really do have plenty more to be thankful for when I think of the life I’ve lived thus far here in Toledo.
Thankfulness that includes, but is not limited to the many day trips I’ve taken to the Toledo Zoo, including each year for the Chinese Lantern and Christmas Lights displays, for the many enjoyable meals I’ve had at local dining establishments such as Tony Packo’s, Zia’s, The Brownstone, Angelo’s Northwood Villa, La Chalupa, San Marcos, QQ Kitchen, Hot Sizzling Wok, Jing Chuan, Mama Mary’s, The Oliver House, Al Smith’s Place, Mayberry Diner and more, for the less than a block walk I have to sit by beautiful Lake Erie’s shoreline or walk on during the winter when the ice is super thick, for the afternoon drives my partner and I have regularly taken to the Maumee Bay State Park and Crane Creek Park to see nature at its best and always for free at that, for catching a few games of the semi-professional Toledo Mudhens baseball team and Toledo Walleye hockey team, for being able to attend a number of good concerts in this area, especially Hall & Oates, Adele, and the Glen Miller Orchestra, for the many good plays and musicals I’ve seen at both the Stranahan Theater and the Valentine Theater, particularly the Book Of Mormon and The Blue Man Group, for the annual visits my partner and I have had to the Wildwood Manor House at Christmas to see holiday decorating at its finest, for visits to the Toledo Art Museum that has free admission and consistently reminds me of a mini-Louvre, for the vibrant and unique way each change of season seems to get represented here, for the fact that I pay far less in living costs in Toledo versus any of the prior cities I’ve lived, for the reality that traffic here is the least I’ve ever experienced versus any of the other cities I’ve lived in as well, for the countless times I’ve found myself meditating at the Side Cut Metropark where I actually created this website’s picture, for the innumerable fun miniature golf courses I’ve played all around this vicinity time and time again, for being only a hop, skip and jump away from Cedar Point, one of the best amusement parks in the world, for the two trips my partner and I have taken to a cozy island out in Lake Erie named Put-In-Bay, one by a friend’s tiny plane and the other by a friend’s small motorboat, for yearly trips to a city just north of here named Frankenmuth just to get Christmas decorations from the world’s largest Christmas store named Bronner’s, for the few friends I have made here who have stuck by my side and continue to appreciate my crazy sense of humor and weirdness, for the Angel’s Landing Spiritual Center that has been the first place of worship I’ve looked forward to going to in well over a decade, and last but not least, for all those I’ve met through my 12 Step recovery work here that have helped me to remain clean and sober one day at a time for over 24 years now.
So, yes, I sure do have loads of gratitude for a city I haven’t shown much love for in the past few years and for that I’m truly sorry. Because Toledo, Ohio is as much of a beautiful city and something to be grateful for like any of the other cities I’ve resided in throughout my life. Sometimes it just takes shifting one’s perspective to see it, which I’m most certainly thankful for I did…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson