It’s time for another Grateful Heart Monday, where the subject of today’s writing is always on a piece of gratitude from my life, which for today I wanted to follow up my writing from two days ago, the day where I turned the big 5-0, where I talked about the question I kept asking myself of, “Why I am here?”. I thought it’d appropriate to focus today on something connected to turning the big 5-0, and that’s all the major things I’m grateful for from the first five decades of my life. So here goes…and in no particular order of importance…
I’m grateful for all the lessons my parents taught me growing up that helped me to both learn what to do in life and not to do.
I’m grateful for getting my diploma from Arlington High School in Lagrange, NY, with an average of 94%, and a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY, with a GPA of 3.76.
I’m grateful to have become both a brother and founding father of Phi Kappa Psi New York Theta at RIT as well.
I’m grateful to have spent ten years in the computer industry doing everything from computer programming and software testing to quality assurance and quality control, all of which helped me to finally realize it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I’m grateful to have owned an 8-guest room bed and breakfast for seven years (1848 Island Manor House) on a remote island in Chincoteague, Virginia where I learned much about owning my own business and realized it too wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I’m grateful to have found sobriety and recovery from so many addictions, including alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sex, love, codependency, and spending money.
I’m grateful to have found healing from the PTSD I endured from family alcoholism and mental health issues, from being bullied, from being molested, and from both my mother and father’s tragic and sudden deaths at their own hands.
I’m grateful to have greatly excelled in a good number of physical activities throughout my life prior to the chronic pain starting up in my life, including swimming, basketball, bowling, tennis, hiking, and biking.
I’m grateful to have travelled as much as I have both outside this country and within it, to Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, and much of the contiguous United States.
I’m grateful to have loved and been loved by a number of partners and friends over many years to learn what loving another and being loved by another actually feels like.
I’m grateful to have lived as close as I have to major cities including New York City, Washington D.C., and Boston, where I got to explore city life as deeply as I did.
I’m grateful for the 15 hard years of volunteer work I’ve put into the addiction recovery field and all the people I’ve sponsored in the 12 Step program along the way.
I’m grateful to have had quite a few amazing spiritual experiences in my life that I can’t rationalize or explain that have led me to know there is something “out there”, “up there”, “around me”, and “within me”, that helps me to keep going in all the suffering I continue to go through with my health.
I’m grateful to the many who have prayed with me, over me, and for me throughout my life, especially in recent years with all the struggles I’ve faced.
I’m grateful to still have some family alive, including my sister and my three nephews, who love me dearly and who I love dearly as well.
I’m grateful to have survived many things that should have taken my life but never did, things that still baffle me to this day how I made it through them when so many in this world haven’t.
I’m grateful to still have all my senses present and my limbs still functioning enough to walk and drive.
I’m grateful for never having gone without food, water, or shelter at any point in my life.
I’m grateful to have been given the gift to write and speak motivationally, two things I never even knew I had until this past decade.
I’m grateful for my present partner, someone who has endured so much of my health issues and pain struggles yet remained by my side for over 10 years now, trusting and believing that I will get better, even when I’ve had a hard time believing it myself on many days.
And I’m grateful to God for having made all these things to be grateful for even possible.
So, on this Grateful Heart Monday, I choose to thank God all these things and all the things I didn’t list here yet are still upon my heart. After five decades of living, I truly have much to be thankful for, and know there will be more to be thankful for in the years to come. I pray that when my time finally comes, however many days, weeks, months, or years that is from now, that I leave this plane of existence still having a grateful heart, something I know is crucial to living a healthy spiritual life…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson