— June 17, 2018 —
ust 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.
hen 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!”
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 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).
ut what’s also true is this: you’re never too old to pursue what will make you happy. Our daughter 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.”