I am writing this today because I feel blessed in my life as it is, and there is no way around it. There was a quote, which I originally heard from Tony Robbins, which goes something like this “When you can take your worst day and realize it was your best day, then you will truly know your purpose.” It may not be an exact quote, but when I heard him say that, I realized how my worst day changed my life so dramatically for a reason.

The first of the five blessings in my life is that I lived through a car accident that killed my best friend in high school and left me a person with quadriplegia. Don’t get me wrong, if I had my hands in the designs on this outcome, I’d have died, and Matt would have lived, but that didn’t happen. That day for me, by far, was my worst day. By taking what Tony Robbins said and reflecting on that in a new way, I have realized that event, no matter how destructive, implanted within me a seed for refocusing on my God-given talent and creative abilities. I say that because, at the time of the crash, I had designs on a career as an athlete like so many young black males that even to fathom where I’d be now as an athlete may have to lead me to a place I would not want to be.

My second of the five blessings is that although my current life is complicated and filled with ups and downs, life in a wheelchair will do. I have lived life thus far that I am sure is better than most quads in that I have had the assistance and friendship of two lovely women for over 20 years, who happen to be sisters Amy and Karrie. I would say they are close friends as they’ve seen me grow as a young man and seen some of my mistakes and ventured off into other realms, I believe in sufficing my development as a man and not make it weird, but with them working with me this long may have been something not of the norm.

My third blessing is the number of reliable care providers, which may be too many to list here, but to name a few, like Angie, Teara, Tricia, Tayonie, John, Ronnie, Janele, Melissa, Ellen, Naomi, and today Heather to name a few. They all combined have made my life comfortable and even in some aspect more than comfortable, and without them, I’m sure I would be lost as well.

My next blessing to address is God-given talent that even after the accident and still today lives in and is genuinely a massive blessing. With even more belief today than maybe years ago, I say that thinking I’d still be the man in other ways, yet that didn’t pan out. I also realize that I am my own man no job is going to make me, and I am happiest when working in my ideas and dreams, so I am blessed to live a life where my expectations from others are low, which makes me want to become so good they can’t ignore me.

My last blessing, which I could replace with so many more, is my mindset. I was blessed with the creative talent and the mindset to win and never gave up, which is a perfect combo to do something with, so here I am since graduation working to continue to live and thrive so I know that I am blessed in each of those ways. So when tough times come, and they do, or when moments of indecision strike, I can rely on the foundation built through years and relationships that hadn’t left me in the lurch but have picked me up when I was down.




Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.

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Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.

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