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Introducing: Jim O’Brien

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I am James O'Brien, 72 years old and officially a happy, open gay man. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and am still a resident there.

 

I am the youngest of four children. Yes, the baby of the family, that's me. My parents were modest but raised me well. I was educated in the Richmond City school system. I was brought up in a conservative Southern Baptist church and lived in a conservative community. Then, the gay lifestyle was unmentionable.

I have an undergraduate degree in Accounting from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). I passed my CPA Exam after graduation from VCU and later received my Certified Global Management Accountant designation. During my 30-year career, I was involved in various firms, including Chief Financial Officer for companies for more than 20 years.

My career offered some challenges in the beginning that were created because of my lack of maturity. However, I kept on moving forward as a CPA performing audits and preparing tax returns. I have become very good at tax preparation and IRS representation, as I am a sought-after CPA in Richmond. When I was hired by one of my clients to serve as controller and later Chief Financial Officer of a company that had annual revenues of $25 million dollars, I experienced early challenges that taught me how to handle multiple priorities at the same time. This has carried over into my life today. My greatest career achievement came later in life when I completed my MBA degree from Strayer University and was hired by the same university as an adjunct professor where I taught business subjects for several years after graduation. This was a fulfilling experience teaching students how to learn and helping them become a success. I then realized that I should have been a college professor for a career as my enjoyment of teaching others business management and accounting subjects became relevant.

I was blessed with one son, who now works for Delta Airlines and is a musician living in Nashville, TN. I was married for 40 years before coming out. My coming out as a gay man led to my separation and divorce five years ago. It was a very difficult transaction for me probably due to my conservative background as I dealt with the confusing feelings of coming into realizing my true self and accepting my God-given sexuality. Although it was difficult initially, my ex-wife and I handled our divorce well. I believe that honestly and friendship were the main ingredients that bridged me and my ex through this transition. We realize that it was not her fault that I was a gay man. We are still best friends and she helps me with my tax practice to this day. It was important to both of us not let the divorce interfere with our relationships with our son.

I enjoy the peace of my gay sexuality and my single life once again, living alone with my dog, Ringo. I adopted Ringo four years ago as a rescue dog from a local SPCA. He gives me much companionship and unconditional love. He is my best friend.

My attraction to men began in my early teens or just before. I struggled with the inner feelings and interest in men for many years because I could not share with anyone until I came out ten years ago. However, I did not act on this attraction until my late 30's and early 40's, I started to have secret meetings with men, all the while harboring the guilty feelings that usually occur in early gay life awareness. I haven't had a serious male relationship yet. I feel that I am not ready for a partner or husband now. Instead, I have many friends with benefits.

Unlike other CPA's, I am blessed with a bubbling and friendly personality. My loving personality is one of the reasons for my success in career and my acceptance within the gay lifestyle. My compassion and empathy for other persons feelings set me apart from most. For hobbies, I am a sports and music person. I am a strong college basketball fan. I attend the VCU basketball games and follow the team closely. I am known to travel frequently to Washington, D.C. to attend baseball games of the Washington Nationals. Now, reach up and tighten up your seatbelts. I am a NASCAR fan, as well, although I do not attend the races as much anymore. And get ready for this. My favorite music is bluegrass. How about that? I attend numerous bluegrass festivals every year. Bluegrass music inspires and relaxes me!

I joined Prime Timers-Central Virginia (my local chapter) mostly as a support group, not knowing what to expect. I was inactive during the first years and then because Treasurer where I am now in my fourth year in office. I was then elected Treasurer of Prime Timers Worldwide in October 2017. What I have received from being involved in Prime Timers, both locally and Worldwide, is the friendships that I have made. These true lifelong friends have made me a better person. My other benefit from serving both on the Prime Timers local and national levels is using my skills and experience in the management of both organizations. This is how I am giving back, so far, to the LGBT community.

My mission in Worldwide is to improve and maintain strong internal accounting controls and financials as needed. I am responsible for cash management, filing government required reports as we maintain fiscal integrity of PTWW. I am honored by the trust that the membership has entrusted in me. I am moving forward with the issues facing Worldwide. Thank you for allowing me to serve.

 

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Last modified on Saturday, 10 February 2018 13:33

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