It was not that long ago that I would dread accompanying my wife to social gatherings. It was not because I hated her company. It was not because I hated her friends, or because I simply preferred to stay at home. The specific reasoning, rather, was I was disappointed with what I had achieved in life up to that point. The thing about social gatherings, you see, the conversation almost always involves, in one form or the other, this: what you are currently doing in life. Sure, I was soundly employed, but I did not possess a real purpose, a real passion in life. Owning a failed bid at college, I had neatly settled into a regular 9 to 5, but that was about it. And therefore, social gatherings, at least in my mind, transformed into an imaginary trial where I was forced to testify to all my shortcomings and failures. I loathed them; I would retreat to an isolated section of the room with the hopes that conversation would quietly pass me by. And then by accident, I found my purpose.
Speaking to my uncle about possibly becoming a mentor, I decided to attend an event hosted by Michael Baisden for Big Brothers Big Sisters. After listening to Baisden read the other African-American men in attendance the riot act, I was shamefully compelled to sign up. Shortly thereafter, I created this blog. I started volunteering at Rescue My Son. I began volunteering in my children’s ministry at church. I had found a purpose – a purpose that extended beyond mechanically punching a clock day in and day out. And ironically, none of my new ventures placed cash in my pockets, yet they were the most rewarding to my spirit.
Emboldened, my drive for success and helping others increased. I got a promotion at work. My blog procured a larger, wider audience. I was invited to speak at a few workshops. I began to freelance write for a few companies. For the first time in a very long time, accomplishment had made its way back into my life. I felt proud. I felt fulfilled. I felt purposeful. So, on this day, the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and the second Presidential Inauguration of President Barack Obama, I want to remind every gentleman and gentlewoman to have a dream. Have aspirations. Have a purpose. And then demonstrate the drive, diligence, and persistence to make your dreams a reality. Stay blessed my friends. Oh, and by the way, social gatherings are no longer intimidating – I actually welcome the verbal intercourse. Much easier when you have something to talk about – right?