A year in personal review and reflection.
This year was not all that bad or at least that is what I perceive as I sit on the cusp of 2015 and all that I anticipate. My 2014 was filled with lessons and quite a few joys as well as a surprise that I NEVER saw coming. As I round out this year I am still pinching myself (figuratively speaking).
One of the high points of 2014 was being voted in as Board Chair of Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus (CBGMC). The mission of this “boots on the ground” organization is “To mobilize and empower Black gay men and their allies to prevent new HIV infections by addressing the well-being of Black men who have sex with men”. Believe me this has been rewarding yet challenging because as some of you know I am in Finance and not Social Services. Fortunately, I am blessed to have a dedicated and professional staff that deals with the day-to-day work of the Caucus as well as fellow Board members and supporters that are professionals in this field of work. The Caucus does some amazing and life changing work within the community and I am blessed to be a part of it. I am very humbled by this experience and the opportunity and still finding my way.
My health has been very good this year and that is a true blessing for I have heard of friends of friends passing at relatively young ages. These sad occasions give me pause to remind me just how darn blessed I am to have my health today.
I was asked by someone I admired and on occasion call my “twin” to participate in something called digital storytelling (sponsored by CBGMC) along with 7 other guys. Because the request came from him I did not hesitate to agree without really knowing what it entailed. Well, digital storytelling is basically a short (3-4 minutes) personal story that is told in your voice that includes video and still shots to assist in telling the story visually. This weekend project was intense and consisted of many man hours. We all were given a topic/subject (how HIV/AIDS impacted our lives) and asked to write a short story. I have always believed that within each of us we have a story to tell like none other. So because I love writing I was all over this. The stories shared between eight SGL (same gender loving) black men was profound. In our community we tend not to talk about the personal and only share that surface stuff. Therefore, to me this was groundbreaking. There was some crying and beautiful touching moments as each story was shared.
As the year progressed I continued on and before I knew it I was preparing for my future life and seriously considering leaving Chicago, my birthplace and a city I truly love. I am a man of action so when God placed that in my spirit I moved forward with it. This initial feeling took hold on the Fourth of July weekend and just four months and one week later I had purchased a second home in another city. The home is simply gorgeous and I can’t wait to reside there full-time. This process brought about some celebration and some disappointment. However, I chose to focus on the celebration and those who chose to celebrate with me. My family has ALWAYS been a huge supporter of my dreams. You see that is what was instilled in us as children and I thank my father (Robert Wadley) for his firm discipline, guidance of love. Little did I know but I had prepared myself financially to be able to do this without much concern (see I believe that was God working). Here I am the owner of two homes at once…me that SGL boy that lived in the projects most of his childhood. Truly I am living my father’s dream. A man who struggled to ensure me and my four siblings had a better life than he did. My sister said something that almost broke me down as we were talking about my purchase. She said “Daddy would be so proud of you” and that touch my heart for my father has always been my hero. I continue to look up to him and think how much strength it took for him to raise 5 children after our mother and the love of his life passed away at 29 years of age.
I continue to enjoy travelling and seeing the world. Most people know I love the sun, therefore, I went to Punta Cana, (Republic of Dominica) in November. The weather was absolutely gorgeous…no colder than 87 degrees. I had a nice relaxing time and I did get my tan on (smile). Now it is time to contemplate where I will spend my 2016 vacation.