Focused on Clearing

When I walk through my house, my home, I want to savor it. I want to revel in colors that resonate with my spirit; I want to surround myself with things that make me smile. I want the music that sings in my heart to set yours on fire. I want the people I love to know that I love them. I want to be that kind of person. And I’m working on it, OK? Right now, I feel so far from that ideal it’s hilarious. My son and grandson came through with flying colors, moving furniture and relocating one tall bookshelf to the garage. Now my home is an explosion of books ...

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A new life needs a place to grow

Today is the winter solstice. This night is the longest of the year, and now we move toward the light. I just said goodbye to a huge chapter in my life. I knew it was coming and I tried to prepare myself. Months ahead, I wrote a note in gold Sharpie and carried it with me taped to my phone. It said: “Debra ~ Focus on the opening door.” That was to keep my heart from breaking while I said my goodbyes. But as I look around, I realize that the opening door I imagined is not the door to my current home office. That space is stuffed with books and papers. To ...

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People have been so kind

Today is my last day in this workplace, in this role. I'm filled with emotion at the loss, and thrilled at the prospect of a new future. Simultaneously. I’m still gushing over the book my co-workers gave me at my party 2 days ago. Instead of the traditional Circulate-A-Retirement-Card-Around-The-Office-For-Everyone-To-Sign, my office circulated a book of quotes. A co-worker could flip through the pages and find a quote that resonated, then write a message to me, often based on that quote. What an amazing gift! Like this one: “Hold up your head! You ...

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Still have a longing to make a difference in this workplace

Tomorrow is my last day in this office. The desk is cleared, there are a few remaining tasks to send their way up the bureaucratic food chain, and what can be delegated has been delegated. I’ve done as much as I can to help smooth a transition to a world different than this one, one where this office carries on without me. As I clear out the old, it surprises me to see the variety of people I have impacted through this seemingly narrow role. As Office Manager, the work staff has had almost a complete turnover in my time here, and my selection of these folks shifted ...

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Retirement party – unexpressed gratitude

I had never envisioned myself at my own retirement party. The thought has been just inconceivable. My typical length of time in a workplace didn’t generally produce the kind of stability that retirement requires, and the thought of “going out to pasture” has never resonated. Yet, here we are. What makes it a bit awkward is that I will still be at work for 2 days more, after the bubbles have popped and the recycle bin has been hauled away. Then, there will be leftover cake to be dispersed among the usual grad student channels and tables to be folded and put ...

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Beginning or Ending?

The word has begun to sneak out around the workplace … Debra’s retiring! The atmosphere has turned a little gloomy, as though everyone feels a heavy sharp knife hanging over exposed necks. There’s a happy face plastered on top, but the gloom oozes around the edges. This is the part I did not want to drag out. I’ve been lucky in previous work separations to hand pick my successor, but not this time. And, it feels really comfortable to leave it like that. The workplace I’m leaving is undergoing its own change process and my departure is part of that. ...

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