Saying Goodbye


 “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


DSCN1843There 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.


22 Replies to “Saying Goodbye”

  1. Looking forward to hearing about how it has been! Transitions are challenging no matter when we make them. I am still keeping a foot in work and it is also difficult to stay IN….. I long to retire but with the collapse of our economy it looks like I won’t be able to do that for many years. My way of dealing with that is to work in two jobs at once, my day job and my dream job of being an artist….I have become a workaholic I fear!! I get so much less time to hop about and comment and I miss those leisurely meanderings. So it is a great pleasure to be here with you dear Donna as you step so creatively into your next exciting phase. x

    1. Oh and I am grateful to have you here dear Catherine…I too am pursuing the creative life and job as living just on my retirement money will not allow me to travel and have some other pursuits. I’ll update and keep folks posted.

  2. I love the quote about goodbyes being a gift. It really puts things in a different perspective ~ from feeling abandoned and disappointed to being liberated and open to experience new opportunities. Lovely post, Donna. Enjoy your retirement 🙂

  3. “Life is simply making room…”

    I love the quote you shared and have to agree. We just moved to a new home, far away from the people we worked with for twelve years. I miss them, yet we are meeting more beautiful people in this new place, and we are much closer (physically) to family. Letting go is never easy…but so necessary in order to enjoy what is here, now.

  4. My retirement (on medical grounds) was forced on me. Not my timing, not my choice. I found it incredibly difficult and confronting, and discovered that I had been defining myself by what I did. Now, nearly twenty years later, I don’t know how I found time to go to work. My life is full. And rich. And endlessly evolving.
    And I am so glad that the decision to retire from paid employment was forced upon me – and refuse to retire from life.

    1. Soosie I do agree I don’t know how I worked as I have no time. And I have toyed with working part time in my old occupation but I can’t…it is not in my heart anymore….not who I am. My heart is with creative pursuits and I am so glad I made the decision.

  5. HI, I totally agree with you, there are things that are always easier said than done, letting go of the past and moving forward to the next level of our lives is somewhat scary, but learning to embrace the path that we are about to walk through will lead us to a more peaceful and happy life. Thanks for sharing.

  6. My husband had a hard time deciding to retire at 55 , but I was a good move in the long run… Now he teaches at a community college because he wants to…hug

    1. Michelle, I am always happy when I hear that someone retires and finds what they want to do….I am working on that now and the writing, gardening and photography are what I want to do right now.

    1. I think you are right as change can be hard. I have been having an easier time with it now….retirement from my old profession has allowed so much more to happen for me now. Thank you for your kind comment.

  7. counting down the weeks, then we move into the next chapter.
    First the upheaval of renovation and landscaping.
    But then, a smaller manageable garden, and opportunities to see family, U3A, concerts.
    Hope your knee is all better now!

    1. I am excited for you but I know the apprehension…good luck with the renovation and I know we will see your landscaping. I am trying to design ours so it is more manageable. The knee I fell on is better but now the other is acting up…can’t win!

  8. The people I know who have had the hardest time retiring have been those who had no outside interests. They really felt bereft — not just from loss of routine and camaraderie but really from loss of identity. They said “Goodbye” to everything they knew about themselves. You, who have said “Yes” to all kinds of life’s best offerings, are now, I suspect, saying, “Yes, yes, YES!” very enthusiastically and enjoying many joyful “Hello”s. I hope you get the chance to greet many new adventures in the coming months!

    1. Thanks Stacy….yes I left it all behind gladly. And I agree if you don’t have the yearning to learn new things and find new interests throughout your life you will never find happiness. I hope to keep exploring this fall and winter….it will be interesting to see what comes out of my cocoon this spring 🙂

  9. I totally agree with you. Change and saying goodbye can be difficult and you may start as being apprehensive about it, but sometimes it is what is best and moving forward like what you did is great for you. Enjoy your retirement and thanks for sharing!

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