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One day, almost 33 years ago today, my parents moved to a small town in central Arkansas. There, they got married and that’s where my life took off. We had a new home, a new town and the opportunity to start a new chapter of my life. A few months later came our move-in day. In the midst of our excitement and anticipation for the future, life wouldn’t be fair to us all – not then, at least. Life was very different then for most people. Today, more than 33 years later, it feels like I’ve been there before. I know what it’s like to have expectations too high or too low and not want anything but the best for myself and my family. But as much as I try to change who I am today — and in some ways, I still do — I know that one day we will all go back home again.

What I loved about life when I was young

— The way things were, the people I had a chance to meet, the excitement it brought. The way things were then, and the way they are now, and then some. How much I love the way things are.

What really set me off on this path

— The isolation, the feeling of being completely alone. The idea of being an ‘only’ parent, with no other children around. The idea of being a proud, proud black man. The idea of being the best, at everything.

The heartbreak of losing a parent

— The cruelty of adoption, the fact that the biological parent can’t be there for the child at all, and the fact that the child is left with no other family members to turn to. The idea of being financially responsible for the whole family, but with the perfect support system to ensure they have a good time while they’re doing it.

My mother’s final words before she died

— ‘I love you, daddy.’ After my parents had died, my mother would have wanted this to be a goodbye email to her only child. ‘I love you, daddy,’ she would have said, ‘you are my everything.’

Finding your purpose after loss

— Feeling like my whole life has fallen into place for me, that I have a purpose and I can do anything I want. Knowing that for a reason this has happened to me, and for a reason that it may or may not happen to you, this is what it feels like to be heard.

Work-life balance after divorce

— Knowing that for many people, the workplace is their entire life — and for many others, the life of the person who works for them is a struggle. Having someone you can turn to for advice, for support, for information, for anything can help you avoid making decisions that cause you pain.

Bottom line

— Knowing that wherever you go in life, there will be challenges and that you have to learn to overcome them. Consistent effort, and consistent results, are the key to success.

Life after excommunication from church

— Feeling like we’ve been sent to a land of waiting, that we’ve been waiting for the right time to come, and that nothing ever happens. Then, a few months later, we get the call that it’s our time, and we are suddenly on our way. Most people feel relief at this news because they are thinking, ‘What a rollercoaster life I’ve been on!’ No one ever said that life was fair.

What it’s like moving from smalltown to large city

— Moving from place to place, from town to town, from city to city. There are always new challenges, new challenges, new challenges. It’s all part of the journey.

#Work-life balance after divorce

— Having two families, a career and two jobs. Having to prioritize. Having good times, but also having bad times. Having to pick and choose what’s appropriate for everyone.

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