As the old saying goes, there is a season for everything, a time to begin and a time to end. Ten years ago, in 2009, I was invited by the editor to develop a monthly column for The Other Paper. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to choose the overarching title for the column, as well as explore a wide range of topics.

These last 10 years have been an incredible journey. I am eternally grateful to those readers who emailed me or stopped me in the grocery store, at church, and other community events to talk to me about the latest column. You all were a constant inspiration for me. I enjoyed our conversations and meeting many of you for the first time. So rather than just disappear from the pages of The Other Paper, I wanted to let you know I have decided this will be my last column.

In my long life of 70-plus years, I have experienced a wide variety of beginnings and endings, both personal and professional. It always seemed like a period of looking backward and moving forward at the same time.

Several years ago, when I was getting ready to retire from the counseling field, a friend sent me a piece a favorite writer of mine had written regarding coming to the end of a work experience, a relationship, or an activity of some kind. Ellen Goodman’s words really resonated with me. I read her message at a farewell party I was given by the staff. I have used it since then and given copies to friends who were facing a retirement or significant change in their life. So now, I would like to share it with you, the reader, and hope someday it will provide you with the inspiration, it does now for me. Goodman writes:

“There’s a trick to the graceful exit. It begins with a vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over and let go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity, or its past importance in our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, we are moving on, rather than out. It’s hard to recognize that life isn’t a holding action, but a process. It’s hard to learn that we don’t leave the best parts of ourselves behind. We own what we learned back there. The experiences and growth are grafted into our lives. And when we exit, we take ourselves along quite gracefully.”

I am forever grateful not only for the people who read my column and responded to it but also to the former publisher/editor of The Other Paper, Judy Kearns, who gave me the opportunity to write a monthly column and was so supportive. I am very thankful for past managing editor/production Donna Kaczmarak, followed by past assistant editor Penne Tompkins, and presently, assistant editor Carole Vasta Folley, who have checked my columns and made edits as needed. It has been a delightful experience to establish email relationships with each one of them.

Thank you one and all.

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