Clocking Out

I’m leaving.

Even though it was my choice to leave, it isn’t ‘easy’.

Some people can disengage and walk away and be done.  Not me.  And I’m okay with that.  For a very long time I have spent more waking hours with the people I work with than with my husband, or children, or friends or mom.  I’ve been extremely lucky.  These people I spend so much awake time with?  I like them.  A lot.

These people and I work in a field where our primary goal is to make someone’s life better.  How do you spend so much time with people like this and not be impacted by them?  By their dedication, selflessness, generosity, tolerance, and general spirit towards humanity.  I have been educated, mentored, guided, humbled, comforted, humored, tolerated, accepted, forgiven, assisted and dare I say-loved.  If not loved, I’ll bet they liked me a good bit to be so very good to me.

Personally I don’t think we as humans were created to spend so much time in buildings and working away from our family.  I think we live well, and were meant to live well,  in ‘packs’ and community.   And this place where I have worked has often fulfilled my need for community.  It makes sense.  We congregate and we exist together on a more regular and consistent basis than many families.  And when you spend so much of your life not with your family, doesn’t it make sense that a lot of time spent with the same people, creates it’s own unique style of community?

I know.  Some people go to work.  Get it done.  Go home.  Or at least go away.   I can’t say I didn’t do that on occasion.  And I can’t say that work was my life.  But it was, and will be somewhere else, essentially and needfully a large part of my life.

Maybe it’s the nature of the work I’ve been doing, but truthfully and gratefully, I believe it to be the people.

I know it’s the people.

When you sit together with people who are dying.  Or try to help people who are watching the loss of their loved one as they disappear into dementia or Alzheimer’s.  When you try to process your own thoughts and emotions as you watch someone’s character be assassinated by those heinous diseases.  As you spend hours and hours lamenting the cruelty of a world that sees no value in the experience and education someone still has for us to benefit from.  Or the loss of lessons we can learn from someone, even when they don’t know they are still teaching us.  When you intrude on someone’s life and try desperately to make a difference but they refuse.   When you then advocate for that person to retain the ability to make bad decisions.  When you work daily with people trying to protect and help the vulnerable.

When you spend thousands, and thousands, of hours with people doing these things

How can you not be changed

How can you not miss

How can you not grieve

Leaving the people you have done this with.

When life takes you on a journey

And that journey takes you away from these very good and decent people

How do you not act more compassionately.

Even if the journey continues on to more challenges, more goodness, and more incredible people

How can it possibly be an easy thing to do.

It’s a journey of paradoxes.

There is sadness even in the good in life.

And leaving people who have worked side by side with you, with me, to change the world one injured or sad or lonely soul at a time, should be sad.

We grew together.

And I am grateful for the journey we’ve had together.

And I am leaving

A better person than when I arrived.

Thank you.

53 thoughts on “Clocking Out

  1. A heartfelt gratitude for all you did and added to so many people’s lives, Colleen. Much will follow you, like a rainbow trail of love, caring, kindness and help given out. . . You will not be forgotten! ❤
    Hope you will allow them to throw you a going away party! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i have no doubt that you were loved and will be missed there, colleen. when you begin your next adventure you will carry and spread the love they’ve shared and given to you.


    • Thank you Beth. I’m excited. And I know of at least a couple of my friends who loved me. I will miss where I left. I like that I didn’t ‘have’ to leave. It was my choice. And hard as it was, I’m looking forward to it.


  3. They have touched your lives as you have touched theirs. It also takes a special person to do the work that you have done. Family time, a different path, I wish you well in your next journey. Thank you for what you did for others in need. ❤️❤️


    • Thank you Jen, very much.

      I will still be going out to people’s homes. But in a different capacity. I’m hoping for there to be just a bit of difference in the emotional energy. I would like to have some left over. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The best of luck to you, Colleen, on your new journey! You have been a hero to many people for a very long time and now it’s time for you and your family. I think you are making a difficult, but wise, decision.


    • Thank you VBTR. I appreciate this. I feel like the lucky one. I was surrounded by wonderful people. I know I will be at the new place. But it’s still hard to leave, even when you know you’re going to something good.

      And thank you for the super kind words.


  5. Much of what you’re saying resonates with me very clearly right now. My last day of work is this coming Wednesday, although I’m leaving for retirement and not moving on to a new place of employment. I’m not struggling with much in this decision, but I am really going to miss the day to day with my coworkers, all of whom have become good friends. And one of the major reasons I’m retiring right now is to be of greater benefit to my family. My dad has advanced Parkinson’s and I need to offer more time to relieve my mom. Sometimes as much as we love our jobs, we really do need to make different choices. I certainly hope that wherever you are going to next will provide the same level of fulfillment as you’ve been experiencing. I’m confident that will be so given how much you bring to a team!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to hear about your father Debra. But ever so happy he has someone who is willing to change their life for him.

      Thank you for the kind words for me. I am excited. Today went very well. Of course I have the fears of not being smart enough 😉 old worries stay with us don’t they? But I am excited about everything we discussed today. And eager to learn more.

      Leaving the friends behind was hugely painful. Truthfully, I can’t leave them ‘behind’. But I did leave them. 😦


  6. That is huge. And they are better for having had you there, but yeah at the same time we have our own families too. :hugs: wonder where adventure takes you next but I am certain it will be grand. 🙂


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