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Costa Rica Thanksgiving Reflections

Editorial – As I sit here in Costa Rica on Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for everything that I get to experience every day in my life.  A little over three years ago I went into the hospital with a blood clot in my leg and ended up having to have open heart surgery only 2 weeks later after complications and infections resulting from the original surgery.

thanksgiving reflectionsI at the time was drinking and drugging my life away.  I had no future and my life was in an unstoppable downward spiral that was leading towards as early death.  I do not know where my unhappiness stemmed from but I was angry at the world and felt even with all the work I did and the talents I had, I was not being given my fair shake.

Hindsight is 20/20. The reason I never accomplished anything in life was because of my addictions. Anything to make me feel good or whole for a little while I would put into my body.  Anything to make my adrenaline run in real life I would do.  Living this way pushed all of my friends and all of my family out of my life. It was no surprise that as I lay there in the hospital for 3 months no one was there expect for a few people in Costa Rica.

For anyone that has seen “A Christmas Carol”, I felt like I was in the part of the story where Scrooge sees his funeral and he also sees that no one is there. No one cared that he died and he was just forgotten.  Laying in a hospital bed for 3 months gives you time to think and reflect on your life. The life I was living had to be a thing of the past and a search for happiness and helping those around me needed to be my new mission in life.

As I left the hospital and began life again the person I was had to be let go as hard as that was.  Trying to change your persona after the age of 30 is next to impossible because humans are a creature of habit.  Drinking which had defined me was a thing of the past.  Drugs to take the edge off were gone.  The ability to quench my adrenaline junky side was no longer an option with a new heart valve.  Who I was in the past had to be forgotten and a new person needed to be built from the lessons I had learned.

Now 3 years later I can finally say I am finally turning the corner on being happy and finding myself. Each morning I am able to get out of bed and do a job I love. I am able to throw on shorts and flip flops and do something for employment that does not even feel like work.

Each day I am able to spend time for myself and enjoy a quick stroll down the beach, or have fish tacos while watching the sun set over the ocean, or even just take an afternoon nap.  These little things and moments in life is what deliver happiness to our souls.

During the time in the hospital and after literally dying for close to 6 minutes, you are forced to understand that you are given one life and one life only. You can allow others and society to dictate your path or you can decide to follow your own dreams.  The only way you can find true peace is by taking steps to do what makes you happy.  This may be having a family, this may be living at the beach, this may be working for yourself…..whatever it is do it. Take the risk and step out of your comfort zone.

I am thankful for each and every day I have been blessed with since my accident

I am thankful for everything in my life, the roof over my head, the job I have, the food in my belly

I am thankful for the drive to always want to pursue my dreams

I am thankful for life and finally finding my smile

Thank you

Dan Stevens

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