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Senior moments: Finding the ‘good’ in goodbye in time for retirement
Rich DeLong

“I do not say goodbye. I believe that’s one of the bull*%+#iest words ever invented. It’s not like you’re given the choice to say bad-bye, or awful-bye, or couldn’t-care-less-about you- bye. Every time you leave, it’s supposed to be a good one.”

John Green, coauthor of the book “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” 

I’m not sure how to take that quote above, but something drew me to it. I guess because I’m saying “goodbye” in some ways. I’m not leaving the planet, just moving into another stage of my life called retirement – which does include a physical move, but in today’s world, you’re never really that far away.

In fact, my plans include the continuation of this column, or one similar. I like writing and sharing my thoughts with others, so why not continue?

Speaking of the word “retirement” — ever notice when you mention this word people get a funny look on their face — often one will hear remarks like, “You’re too young to retire,” or “What will you do with yourself?” Or my favorite, “Do you really have enough money to retire?”

By the way, the answer is “no!” I’m not sure most people will really ever have enough money to retire, but what are the options? Work until we die? I’m not buying a ticket to that show.

The word “retirement” really gets a bad rap. Take for example some of the synonyms and related words listed for “retirement:” abandonment; disavowal; surrender; annulment; deletion; dissolving; elimination; invalidation; nullification; repudiation; revocation; vanishing — wow, really? But wait, there’s more: backsliding; betrayal; castoff; desertion; dissipation; execution; expiration — I could go on, but I think you get the point.

I did find three words about retirement that I really liked: achievement, fulfillment and perfection. Now those are really nice words and positive, too. I would like to think that when someone retires he or she could rest on a word that made them feel good — I mean really good.

If you have worked for 30 years and have no feeling of achievement, there’s something wrong. If you pour out yourself for others and invest many years working toward a better end — and you do not feel fulfilled, take a closer look at your life because you may not realize the difference-maker you really are. If you think perfection is only for kings and queens and the rich, then you do not understand that perfection makes its home in the heart and soul of each individual. It is who you are. None of us are perfect, but we should all have the opportunity to feel perfected.

I was given that feeling yesterday by a family who I have been trying to help for the past several months. Their situation is unique and yet not much different from many other families who are responsible for caring for a loved one. They stopped by my office yesterday to wish me well on my retirement and then the most beautiful words I have ever heard were spoken to me.

“You are the hands and feet of Jesus, thank you for all you have done for us.”

I could not help but cry after they left my office. If you really want to make someone feel great about retiring, say something from your heart about how much of an impact he or she has had on your life. I guarantee it will justify this person in every way.

Thank God I found the good in “goodbye” my friends.

DeLong is the executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care. Contact him at 912-531-7867 or

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