Well hello, Lodi!
Happy New Year to you and yours. You might remember me from my more than a decade on the opinion page, writing regular pieces about youth, politics and even our community DMV.
It’s been almost two years since I wrote a regular column for this city institution and I’m honored to have an opportunity to contribute again.
So what happened?
Your messages and notes asking me what happened and why I suddenly stopped writing here took me by grateful surprise. You see, I never formally said goodbye. And that was because I never had the mindset that I would be departing.
But as the saying goes, “Life happens,” and I started to have less and less time to contribute because more projects and opportunities were presenting themselves quicker than I could keep up. Eventually, I realized that I could no longer devote the kind of attention and dedication that this column — or you — deserved, and the News-Sentinel was kind enough to allow me to step away for a bit.
Where have I been?
Just before my departure, I was beginning to spend a lot of time on the road at speaking events. Two of said events were even public talks in Lodi, and several at Lodi and Stockton area schools. At those talks, I was sharing uplifting and thoughtful observations on the lighter side of life.
In the last few years I started dedicating myself to more uniting ideas and compassionate principles. Many of you may remember a time when I wrote fiery columns filled with attitude and grievances. While there are still moments of frustration that I deal with, I handle it differently now and choose to look beyond the rage and toward the solution instead.
As I have matured, so have my views.
And as my speaking events gained traction, so did my message.
I have since founded the Do Good. Be Great. personal development movement; been brought on as a commentator for The Blaze News Network, and began hosting The Millennial Report radio and digital TV program from the Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood.
The program, aired on the Universal Broadcasting Network, is dedicated to “Sharing the Best of a Generation,” by telling the incredible stories of my peers and others who are making a positive difference.
I’m still speaking at conferences and campuses and continue to share my key learnings and thoughts through my various social media channels.
So why now?
You’re probably thinking that with all of that going on, how could I possibly find time to dedicate to this regular space when I was struggling prior to all of it happening in the first place, right?
I get it. It seems crazy. But I’ll tell you that not only have I learned how to juggle all of my commitments, but I’ve become far more delighted to accept them as well as more of what comes my way.
The reason for it is because I feel incredibly blessed to be able to be a part of the lives of people in any way I can. Whether it’s in front of a camera and studio lights speaking to an audience as far away as Australia, or in a classroom with 15 middle school students — I am beyond humbled to know that I can learn to be better alongside others.
And no matter where I go or who I speak to, I’m always reminded of Lodi.
I’m reminded of my kind neighbors, my loving family and more importantly, the giving community that raised me and that I learned so much from.
I’ve been itching to get the chance to talk to you again and share the wonderful stories and people that I’ve come across since we last met.
So, with open arms, I hope you’ll offer me up a livable, lovable hug.
It’s time to come back to my hometown newspaper.
Wade Heath grew up in Lodi. Reconnect with him at www.Facebook.com/Wadewire.