“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” ~Ann Landers
I have been toying with the idea of retirement for a few years now. As I neared the 30 year mark and 55 years of age (the markers for qualifying for retirement from public education in my state), I was sure I would retire the first year I was eligible. But a funny thing happened as it approached, I became unsure. Always saying yes I am retiring…no hesitation…. while inside feeling sad and unable to understand why I was feeling suddenly so confused.
Why was it so hard to let go of a job after 30 years especially when the last few have been very difficult. It wasn’t until I read this passage that a bit of light started to niggle at the corners of my consciousness.
In life, goodbyes are a gift. When certain people walk away from you, and certain opportunities close their doors on you, there is no need to hold onto them or pray to keep them present in your life. If they close you out, take it as a direct indication that these people, circumstances and opportunities are not part of the plan for the next step of your life. It’s a hint that your personal growth requires someone different and something more, and life is simply making room. So embrace your goodbyes, because every “goodbye” you receive sets you up for an even better “hello.” Mark and Angel Chernoff
There it was. Simple really to understand but equally difficult to put into practice. Letting go of my past life to embrace this new journey into the unknown is scary. It feels like I am going into a haunted house in the dark of night not sure what pits and falls might be around the corner. Can you feel the fear mount…the butterflies in my stomach…the hair on the back of my neck standing up…chills running down my spine. So how do I deal with all this fear and simply let go?
It is hard to say goodbye to a big part of our lives, but it is necessary to move into the next best phase. To transition, a part of me has to die. So that grief I have been experiencing is only natural. In fact it is necessary. And as I have slowly removed this veil of grief, I am looking now toward the light shining bright for me as I retire at the end of this month.
And as I move on there will still be tears, there will still be confusion. I will be learning to walk all over again on this new path in these brand new shoes. I am not sure if retirement is a death, a rebirth or a reconstitution of one’s self. But above all it is a celebration. Time to celebrate all I have become and all I have learned as I finally let go. I am most grateful for it all-good and bad. And I welcome this next phase and its precious gift as I say goodbye, and get ready to say hello world it’s me and I am so happy to be here!
Note: Butterflyweed means “Let me go” in the Language of Flowers.
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Update 7 months later:
This post was originally published February 21, 2014 as I was getting ready to retire on March 3, 2014. And retire I did. It felt strange for about a month. Almost like an extended vacation.
But with many health problems cropping up, it was the best decision I could have made as I found I needed surgery in mid-May to repair a hernia. The surgery and recovery were more extensive so the gift of retirement so far is for me to heal. Physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
And I am grateful for every moment I have to slow down, watch the critters in my garden, pick flowers, take photographs, create new meals, harvest the veg garden and just be. I plan to do a follow up post about my retirement soon.
I leave you with another thought about letting go. Feel free to download the photo and share.
All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014. Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.