Embracing a New Chapter: My Return to Blogging After a Hiatus

Hello, beautiful people. It’s been a minute since my last blog post, and I am excited to reconnect with you all and start blogging regularly again. My absence was for good reason – I have been on a long and incredible journey, culminating in achieving a lifelong dream: earning a doctorate. This journey began over two decades ago. The aspiration to pursue higher education in this field did not start with intentionality. However, due to the counsel and mentorship of a constellation of the right people at the right time, guiding my decisions and fueling my passion for learning and leadership – here we are. I am grateful for them and proud of myself. However, life, as it often does, presents its unique set of challenges and detours.

One of the most significant roles I have embraced in my early adult life was that of a single, traditional custodial father. This role, while immensely rewarding, required me to shift my priorities, putting my educational aspirations on hold. I know of many who were able to pursue advanced and terminal degrees while also balancing the responsibilities of being a single custodial parent, but I am not one of those; that was too much for me. I take my hat off to the phenomenal women and men who could do both. The decision to delay my educational goals was not made lightly, but it was a necessary sacrifice that I accepted wholeheartedly.

Throughout my academic and professional journey, I experienced moments of doubt and uncertainty. There were times when dormant pangs of survivor’s guilt and imposter syndrome crept in, making me question my capabilities, decisions, and trajectory. However, these feelings are no longer overpowering as they were in my teens and twenties. With age and experience, I have learned to manage these emotions and fears more effectively, recognizing them as part of the human experience, especially among those who strive for continual growth and achievement.

Today, as I stand on the other side of this journey, having completed my Ed.D., I am filled with a sense of profound gratitude and accomplishment. It feels surreal, but it has been less than two weeks since my dissertation defense, so I am sure that is a natural feeling. This achievement is not just a personal milestone but a testament to the power of perseverance, dedication, and the support of those who believed in me – especially my family and close friends. For those that are no longer here in the plane of existence, I know they were watching me give my presentation, and I know they will be walking alongside me as I cross the stage in December. My Grandma, Dad, Mr. McCauley, Mr. Jarvis, Dr. Carr, and close childhood friends Clayton (Boss) and Rodney (Bam). I carry pictures of them in my wallet to never forget where I came from and to stay grounded and humble.

My experiences over the past two decades have matured me personally and professionally. They have given me a unique perspective on the challenges and triumphs of balancing life’s many roles and obstacles. Knowing there are so many who were and are equally deserving of all the opportunities and aid I received helped me get to where I am today. As I move forward, my focus is not just on using my knowledge and skills in an educational setting but also on creating broader opportunities for others. I am keenly aware of the fortunate turns my life has taken, and I am committed to paying it forward.

In this next chapter of my life, I am excited to share my insights, experiences, and learnings with you through this medium, and I would be honored if you carved out the time to read my posts. I plan to make them much shorter moving forward, so they are no longer than five minutes to read. I hope to challenge, celebrate, inspire, engage, learn, and provoke thought, just as I have been inspired by the many individuals who have been part of my journey. I dedicate this latest academic achievement to all those that had the ability but never given the opportunity.

To my readers, old and new, thank you for your patience and for joining me as I progress in this new chapter. Together, let us explore critical social issues, public policy, leadership, community, and personal growth, always remembering that the path to achievement is often winding but always worth the journey.

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