An Alternative Title for the Jay-Z & Beyoncé Album

w: Johnathon E. Briggs

w: Johnathon E. Briggs

An Alternative Title for the Jay-Z & Beyoncé Album

— June 17, 2018 —

Just in time for Father’s Day weekend, Jay-Z and Beyoncé dropped a surprise, nine-track album Saturday titled “Everything is Love.” But since the launch of my blog a year ago today, I’ve learned that everything is change.

Change— a six-letter word that sometimes feels like a four-letter verb—is the one constant in our lives, whether we like it or not. After my last blog post in December, I could feel that 2018 was going to usher in big changes, borne out of the realization (to borrow from Beyoncé) that I was not “crazy in love” with my job or living situation.

Sometime in March, I became fixated on a gospel song by Marvin Sapp called “Sweeter As the Days Go By” and, as the lingo goes, it “gave me life.” In his stirring, raspy voice, Sapp delivers an inspiring meditation on gratitude that can brighten the day of anyone in need of a lifted spirit, which at the time was me.

I was commuting by train to a job I no longer enjoyed, living in an apartment that was too small for my family, and navigating the health insurance labyrinth to secure autism therapy for my daughter. Those days did not feel sweet at all; they felt tedious and taxing. I wondered when my change was gonna come, but hearing Sapp’s song—especially the live version in which he’s backed by a full-throated choir—reminded me to keep the faith.


Then in late March, a series of events began that effectively hit the reset button on everything: my wife got a new job (no more 7 a.m. office arrivals); we bought a house (bye bye, cramped apartment); and by April I had received (and accepted) a job offer that included health insurance that would cover my daughter’s therapy. We were movin’ on up like George and Louise Jefferson. In the vernacular of my church-going friends, “Won’t He do it!”

via GIPHY

The blessings were abundant, to be sure. And it deepened my sense of gratitude. I had set out to change things in my life that needed changing and the Universe conspired in my favor. But here’s the thing: change is hard. Even when it’s a change you welcome.

After five years working at a public relations agency alongside clients and colleagues who inspired, I couldn’t suppress the feeling that it was time to move on. I was comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, and knew that if I stayed another five years I’d regret not spreading my wings. In three months, I’d landed a new role in corporate communications that was everything I could imagine (and more), but it had one caveat: a nearly three-hour daily commute by car (roundtrip).

I had set out to change things in my life that needed changing and the Universe conspired in my favor. But here’s the thing: change is hard. Even when it’s a change you welcome.

This didn’t seem like a big deal in isolation, but coupled with the feeling that everything in my life was in upheaval, it was another stressor on top of others both big and small: adapting to a new job and new expectations; dealing with second-rate home contractors (bye, Felicia); discovering thousands of dollars in repairs after the closing; keeping a time-sensitive side hustle project moving—without a home office; unpacking box after box after box and still not finding what I was looking for; transitioning our daughter (a.k.a. Sugar Smacks) to a new routine; watching our lawn morph into the Wild Kingdom, but having the hardest time finding someone to come out and cut it (First World problems, I know).

It seemed at every turn there was a problem in need of a solution. At one point, I recall saying to MDW (My Dear Wife), “This will be the last move of my life. I’m getting too old for this shit.” #Truth. (She’s not too keen on uprooting again either).


But what’s also true is this: you’re never too old to pursue what will make you happy. Sugar Smacks will soon turn four and is too young to comprehend the major shift that has occurred in our lives. But one day I hope she can appreciate the example that both me and MDW are modeling as her parents: if you don’t like something, don’t be afraid to change it.

That doesn’t mean life will be a skip in the park. As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

I stepped out on faith that the grass would be greener on the other side for me and my family, but that doesn’t mean it was easy to test the soil.

This Father’s Day, as I settle into this next chapter of my life, I’m reminded that parenthood is a journey of faith. Dads change. Kids change. Relationships change. But the one thing that doesn’t change is the love that grounds and connects families.

It’s Love that helps you navigate the ups and downs of life, something Jay-Z and Beyoncé know all too well as parents of three who apparently have rebounded from the acknowledged strife in their marriage. That’s why I wish they had titled their first joint album as The Carters, “Love Changes Everything.”

Father on,

924 words

6.17.18

Johnathon E. BriggsA 40-something dad with a penchant for wingtip shoes and statement socks who blogs about the "4 Fs": fatherhood, food, fitness, and fashion. #DadBlogger #Parenting #MensLifestyle

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About

Six weeks before my 40th birthday, I became a first-time father. This life-changing moment made me think about my own dad, who became a father at 44. As my parenthood journey unfolded, I noticed that most of my friends had become parents earlier in life yet, here I was, changing diapers and battling sleep deprivation at (nearly) 40. I told my wife, “Parenting is definitely a young man’s game.” But is it really?

Where most of my friends were preparing for their children’s middle and high school graduations, I was mastering the art of the swaddle, perfecting the one-hand baby wipe, and learning to decipher my daughter’s gurgles and whimpers. It occurred to me that I had so much more to offer my daughter at the sure-footed age of 40 than I did at, say, 28, when I was still coming into my own. In this awareness I gained appreciation for where I am in life and the idea for Fatherhood@Forty was born.

Fatherhood@Forty is a parenting blog that chronicles my adventures (and misadventures) as a mid-life dad. It is a creative outlet for me to share my experience of fatherhood and to inspire other (relatively) late-in-life dads. It’s been said that each child is their own assignment and I believe each parent’s journey is its own destination.

Here are a few factoids about me, Johnathon Briggs, the editor behind this blog:

  • I am a former journalist (Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune) who appreciates the power of storytelling.
  • I live in the western suburb of Naperville, but love exploring Chicago and the Midwest with my family.
  • I am thankful for my “dad bod” and remain on a constant quest to stay fit through charity 5Ks, weight training and intermittent fasting.
  • I support charities that fight HIV, uplift families affected by incarceration, and ensure African American boys graduate from college.
  • In my spare time I enjoy reading The New Yorker and comic books, binge-watching House of Cards and Luke Cage, experimenting with photography, and shopping on Gilt (guilty pleasure)
  • I am a child of the ‘80s, so please expect references to the Golden Age of Hip-Hop, School House Rock and Scooby-Doo.

As a reporter for daily newspapers, I had the opportunity to interview fascinating people and to test out great products and brands for my readers. I hope to do the same for you as I blog about the moments that make up this thing called fatherhood.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts about the “4 Fs”: fatherhood (Pop Life), food, fitness, and fashion. Please email me if you’d like to collaborate or have ideas for a blog post: fatherhoodforty@gmail.com.

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Disclaimer: Fatherhood@Forty may contain affiliate marketing links, which may result in commission on sales of products or services I write about. My editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.