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I’m welcoming the New Year with a different view out of my office window. The end of the old year brought with it the end of a job.
The normal nostalgia of December was coupled with a flood of memories as I departed the Health Department for a new position with The Centers in Lecanto.
Transitions are always difficult, even under the best of circumstances, and I had the best circumstances at the Health Department. I’ve left a great support system behind: laughter and tears with co-workers, unbelievable encouragement and trust from administration, and of course the clients with whom I’ve been blessed to share a season of their lives.
I’ve approached this transition much differently than many in the past.
Those of us with dysfunctional family backgrounds tend to mishandle transitions. We are known to throw tantrums and create quite a bit of drama, leaving a trail of emotional wreckage heaped with the refuse of anger and shame in our wake. Or we can avoid the change altogether and never have any closure in our lives, just blindly hop from one open door to the next.
Since I began my recovery, I have made a lot of progress in the leavings of my life — moving them from rollercoaster traumas into choreographed exits, packaged highly programmed and unemotional.
At this particular transition, I’ve made it a personal mission to continue to bond and build on the relationships I was leaving while in the midst of the leaving process.
For many years, I battled with the emotion called “sad.” Sadness was a pervasive theme in my early childhood and I spent years in recovery keeping relationships superficial so that I could leave or be left without the accompanying sad feelings. I often left friendships just to show that I could walk away, “their loss, not mine.”
This emotional game worked relatively well to keep me protected from sadness. Sad threw me back into those anxious times of my childhood when I was at the mercy of the state of my parents’ marital troubles. Sad defined a condition of being out of control, empty, and lost. Sad was to be avoided at all costs, because the wounds were severe and potentially life-threatening.
What I found was a profound peace at my departure — weird, right? I felt all the tough feelings. Sad was right up there, making tears that poured from my eyes, wistful memories threading through my mind in the weeks leading up to my leaving. But there were other emotions competing for air time, bringing calm and lightheartedness to those last days. Along with the old jokes revisited, there were new jokes hatched. Commitments were made and dates set for reconnecting in other venues. Messages of congratulations and well-wishes were received by my brain and cherished instead of dismissed or ignored.
My exit complete, I’m turning toward this next beginning. I am delighted and blessed to have been asked to become the Director of Citrus County Services for The Centers. I will oversee the programs and staff, build new partnerships and collaborations for our community, and will inspire our staff and community to successfully fulfill the mission of The Centers.
This is a wonderful challenge, and I’m very excited to embrace these opportunities. I need all of your prayers, thoughts and support as I move forward. Maintaining my column as I move into my new job is a special perk, and I relish the opportunity to continue my connection with my readers. My new contact information is listed and, as always, I look forward to your feedback. Happy New Year!
Yvonne Hess, M.S., LMFT,CAP, is director of Citrus County services for The Centers. She can be reached at 352-628-5020, ext. 1013, or email@example.com.