Graceful Exits (How to Walk Away)


One of my favorite pieces. I wrote this one a year ago, and it has become timely for me once again. I needed the reminder today. This must be something that we all struggle with, because this is one of my posts that is found most often via Internet searches.

There are times when we need to walk away.  Different situations and relationships reach their inevitable conclusion, and we must determine the best way to extricate ourselves.  We need to keep in mind that how we choose to exit impacts both us and those we leave behind.

Make a graceful exit from the workplace.  Most of us will switch jobs at least once in our lifetime.  You may receive a better offer, you may find you can no longer tolerate the environment, or you may be seeking to find career alternatives.  No matter the reason, I advise you to proceed with caution in how you exit.  (Yes, this is the voice of experience speaking.)
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This Is Not Goodbye

When I started this blog eighteen months ago I also began following a blogger who quickly became one of my favorites.  He wrote insightful, eloquent pieces that conveyed messages that have stayed with me.  He opened my mind to new viewpoints and invited me to question how I interact with people.

I was more than a little surprised when he decided to step away from his blog six months later.  As a new blogger I could not understand why a popular blogger with thousands of followers would (gasp!) stop blogging.  He was confident, though, that the time had come.  He felt as if he was on the verge of something, even if he could not yet articulate what it was.

I wished him well, told him I was thankful that our paths had crossed, and applauded him for knowing when to move on.  He told me that he felt I would know, too, when it would be my turn to move on.  I believe he foresaw this moment long before I could even imagine it.

I understand now his inkling of being “on the verge”.  I have been feeling for the past several weeks that this life, already a good, good life, is about to become amazing.  I have no idea what is coming, or where it is coming from, but I am ready to receive it with arms wide open.

I have renewed my dedication to making my body and my soul as healthy as possible through exercise, healthy eating, and positive interactions.  This feels like an essential piece of whatever this new journey may be.  I am also forcing my introverted self out the door and into face-to-face connections. I find myself overwhelmed with the need to be out in the world, to be of it, searching for signs of what is to come next.  All of which is leading to less time spent online.

While this is not a goodbye, I do feel the need to share with you the reasons for my periods of absence and the infrequency of my postings.  I owe you all that for the simple fact that you have taken time in your life to be a part of mine.  Believe me when I tell you that your presence here has made a lasting impact on my life.  It is due in no small part to your support and encouragement that I have the courage to take these next steps.

I have no idea how long my blogging hiatus will last.  I may feel compelled to write a post tomorrow, next week, or next month.  I do know that I will continue to write, be it here or elsewhere.  This blogging experience has reminded me that I need to write much as I need to breathe (a feeling I am sure many of you share).  I intend to take the plunge and start submitting pieces for possible publication.  Again, I would not have contemplated such a step without the feedback I have received here.

I follow over 400 blogs here on WordPress and other sites.  I will continue to be here, reading and commenting on your posts.  You are all an essential part of my journey.  I thank you for simply being a part of my life and for choosing to spend even one minute of your time here.  I have been blessed to make the most amazing connections and friendships through this blog.  I hope that you will stick around!

Wherever you go, whatever path you choose to walk, please remember to walk it with love and kindness in your heart.  Be amazed, look for the magic, wonder at the miracles, and opt for happiness.  Above all, be grateful, always and in all ways.  Cheers! Karen

The Most Important Job

I am an insurance agent.  You are a writer.  She is a physical therapist.  He is a stay-at-home dad.

We have jobs to perform.  We have careers to build.  We have schedules to adhere to and meetings to attend.  We meet deadlines, make appointments, and multitask our way through the days.

We navigate the hustle and bustle of society.  We ride out the ebbs and flows of the economic system.  We create trends, and then we buck them in favor of the next latest, greatest thing.

Some struggle to wade through the mundane hours of their workday.  Others strive to climb the ladder and achieve new heights of career elevation.  The luckiest of us grab ahold of that thing that sparks our passion and find a way to make both a living and a life with it.

We make products and sell ideas.  We analyze data and seek ways to make the graphs move in the right direction.  We offer our art and our talent to the world.  We create, teach, and serve.  We provide customer service support, financial advice, and care.

We hold various positions and titles.  We run the gamut from entry-level clerks to sous chefs to CEOs.  We each offer a service that allows society to function as it does.  Yet we collectively, as humans, have a far more important job that we cannot ignore and must not neglect.

We need to remember, as we start each new day, what our primary purpose truly is.  What is, in fact, the very reason for our being.  It has little to do with earning a paycheck.  It has everything to do with love.

The single greatest job we can aspire to is to love the people who surround us.  It is, I believe, our responsibly, our duty, and our destiny.  We can offer nothing better to one another than the love within our hearts.  Live a legacy of love that you may leave a legacy of love.

A moment spent comforting a wounded soul is worth more than countless hours in a boardroom.  A day of fishing and hiking with your children trumps the highest salary.  A romantic getaway strengthening a relationship.  A weekend laughing with friends and making memories.  These are the best ways to build a “resume”.

Love like it is the most important job you will ever have…because it is.

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What Is the Point of a Life if Not to Live It?

A man has a medical scare that lands him in the hospital for several days.  He pulls through, and he is discharged.  He is sent home with some dietary restrictions and a timetable for resuming different daily activities such as driving, exercising, and lifting heavy objects.  He has received that most frightening wake up call, and he realizes that he needs to make changes.

He now understands that he must practice moderation.  He knows that the previous years’ excesses have brought him to this place.  He is willing to cut back on the unhealthy foods and increase his fitness level.

His loved ones, with all of the best intentions, prefer elimination to moderation.  No, you cannot drink that.  No, you cannot eat that.  No, you cannot do that.  No, no, no!  Be careful with this.  Watch out for that.  Careful, careful, careful!  They mean well, and they want him to stick around for a long time to come.

He lives, yet his life has changed.  It is now full of cannots and cautions.  He begins to wonder if this is what he survived for.  Is this why he was given another chance?  What is the point of a life if not to live it?  Is he living, or is he merely existing?

I look at this man, and I am sad for him.  I want him to be healthy, but one must be happy in order to be truly healthy.  He needs to change his diet and exercise habits to be sure, but he should not be deprived of the occasional treat.  He should not be forced to spend his days strapped into an invisible safety harness.  There has to be an acceptable balance that allows him to continue to live his life, not just to survive.

A young woman is diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.  She undergoes what is known as the “Mother of All Surgeries” (MOAS), and she endures a slow, painful recovery that lasts for more than a year.  She winds up minus a few body parts and with permanent damage to others.  Things are touch and go for a long time.  There are numerous repeat admissions to hospitals, tests after tests, and treatments upon treatments.

Today, she lives.  And when I tell you that she lives, I mean she lives.  She embraces life.  She devours it.  She throws herself into it with beautiful abandon.  She appreciates every extra minute that grace has bestowed upon her.

She has limits and restrictions, too.  She has days when her body delivers a less-than-kind reminder of those limitations.  On those days she knows that she must retreat for a time, only so that she may charge right back into life and living.

She has come to understand the necessity of balance, the give and take that allows her to continue finding joy in many of her dayst  Har friends and family understand and readily accept that there will be some missed events and some rescheduled plans, thankful that there will be future days spent together.  Each December we celebrate her birthday, and each June we acknowledge the anniversary of the MOAS and the rebirth of the woman who chooses to live.

I watch her, and I smile.  She teaches me how to recover, how to persevere, and how to be stronger than a “weakened” body should allow.  I look to her, and I know that the point of a life is indeed to live it.

This post is dedicated to my friend Liz, whose beautiful and passionate spirit has taught me a thing or two about how to live a life.  Cheers! Karen

Defiance is Your Destiny

Defy the odds.  Defy expectations.  Defy predictions.  Defy suppositions.

Defy limits, boundaries, and borders.

Defy the critics and the detractors.  Defy the cynics and the skeptics.  Defy the naysayers and the nonbelievers.

Defy prejudices, presumptions, and preconceived notions.

Defy ordinary.  Defy normal.  Defy unrealistic.  Defy impractical.

Defy the word can’t.  Defy the word shouldn’t.  Defy the word impossible.  Defy the word no.

Defy the negative self-talk.  Defy the self-doubt.  Defy your own attempts to destroy your self-confidence.

Defy the lines not to be colored outside of.  Defy the box not to be thought outside of.

Defy, that you may find deliverance.  Defy, that you may define yourself.  Defy, that you may find your destiny.

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Trust Me


A few years back we had a plumber come to our home to give us an estimate for work that needed to be done.  He spent a good twenty minutes or so inspecting the area and answering our questions before giving us a price.  After he left my husband asked me what I thought, and I responded that we would not be using him because I did not trust him.  When he asked why I felt that way I told him it was because the man had started at least a dozen sentences with, “To be honest with you…” or some variation thereof.

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The Givers and the Doers

I will be attending a fundraiser this afternoon for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money and awareness for childhood cancer.  The event is timely as September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Point me in the direction of a legitimate cause concerning kids or animals, and you can count me in!      Continue reading

Graceful Exits (How to Walk Away)

In honor of my blog’s upcoming one year anniversary later this month I thought that I would share some of my most viewed posts from the past year, along with some of my personal favorites. This post is my ninth most viewed post, and it is one that I read on days like today when I need a reminder that I am doing the right thing in disengaging from an unhealthy, one-sided relationship. Thank you all for each and every visit you have made here!

Fill Your Own Glass

There are times when we need to walk away.  Different situations and relationships reach their inevitable conclusion, and we must determine the best way to extricate ourselves.  We need to keep in mind that how we choose to exit impacts both us and those we leave behind.

Make a graceful exit from the workplace.  Most of us will switch jobs at least once in our lifetime.  You may receive a better offer, you may find you can no longer tolerate the environment, or you may be seeking to find career alternatives.  No matter the reason, I advise you to proceed with caution in how you exit.  (Yes, this is the voice of experience speaking.)

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Beneath the Surface (Looking Beyond Appearances)

He sits on the barstool next to my husband.  He is half my age.  He is sporting a full beard and a ponytail.  He is dressed all in black with a band t-shirt that I will later learn via an internet search is for a death metal group.

We could not be more different.  We appear to have nothing in common.  Well, aside from the fact that I am an aging 80s headbanger, though mine was more power ballad hair bands instead of thrash music.

He orders a draft beer and strikes up a conversation with us.  It turns out we have a mutual affection for craft beers, in particular the Octoberfest varieties soon to hit the shelves (thank you beer gods).  Soon he is describing the foodie scene in his hometown of Portland, Maine.  He shows us pictures from his recent camping trip to the gorgeous Vermont mountains.  He tells us about his college days and his plans to attend a custom guitar building school after graduation.

He is smart, witty, and engaging.  The three of us talk for hours about a myriad of subjects.  He is an attentive listener and an interesting storyteller.  I find that I want to get to know him better.  By the end of the night we feel like fast friends.

The scene I just described played itself out one evening earlier this week.  The young man is our nephew on my husband’s side, and he was in town to visit family.  While he is not a stranger to me, he is someone who I had met only a handful of times.  It had been years since I had last seen him, so in some ways I was now “meeting” him as an adult.

I relay this story to you because it got me thinking about appearances and how we react to them.  I found myself wondering how often we miss out on meeting amazing people because we have knee-jerk reactions to the way they look.  If I had to guess I would say this automatic dismissal of people based on their outward representation of themselves happens far more often than we might care to admit.

As a people-watcher and an avid observer of human nature I see this sort of thing happen time and again.  We tend to gravitate toward people who are in our age range, dress like we do, and enjoy the same things that we do.  Imagine, though, if we all broadened our horizons and reached out to those who we might initially pass by.  I do not believe we do this with any malice or animosity, rather it is from a sense of hesitancy and apprehension of the unknown.

I would like to think that if the young man in the story had not been my nephew I would have engaged in that same conversation.  That I would have set aside my initial thoughts that I would have nothing in common with him, or that we would not be able to relate to one another.  However, I have been guilty of judging someone by appearance or by presumption, my own self-created version of a person based on a first glance or a brief meeting.  I almost missed out on a wonderful friendship with a woman I pre-judged, but thankfully life presented us with a second opportunity to connect.

I am learning to look beneath the surface.  I am open to finding out what it is that constitutes the “more than meets the eye” in people.  I want others to offer the same courtesy to me, and so I will gladly extend myself to them.

There are people who are unable to see past outward appearances.  If someone does not fit the homogeneous grouping they belong to then they are not willing to extend themselves.  I find that I feel sorry for these misguided souls, for with their reflexive actions they are depriving themselves of some great company.  They are missing out on possibly making cool new lifetime friends, like the one I made this week.

Do you have your own similar experience to share?  Do you step out of your “box” to meet others?  As always I welcome your comments and feedback.  Just for fun, and to prove I was an 80s headbanger girl, I am including a photo from my long ago high school days.  Try not to fall over laughing… Cheers! Karen

My 80s metal days...and yes, people did tend to avoid me at the mall!

My 80s metal days…and yes, people did tend to avoid me at the mall!

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Sunday Smiles- It Isn’t the Things

It’s the feel of the soft, purring vibration of a cat napping on your lap.

It’s the sound of your nephew’s laughter as he plays in the surf on a beach day.

It’s the ring of laughter as friends come together to celebrate a milestone birthday.

It’s the inhalation of crisp, clean air on a mountain hike.

It’s dancing around the living room with abandon to a favorite 80s tune.

It’s the sweaty satisfaction of giving your all during a tough workout.

It’s the joy of an unexpected phone call from a childhood friend.

It’s sending messages to your significant other across a crowded room with only a smile.

It’s getting caught in a warm summer rain shower and not running for cover.

It’s relaxing by the pool, forgetting about the workweek grind and enjoying the simple pleasure of watching the kids show off their cannonballs and dives.

It’s in making the time for your passions and pursuing them without reserve.

It’s the instant comfort issued by a hand placed on your back in silent support.

It’s in surveying the scene around you and exhaling slowly, knowing you are exactly where you want to be.

No, it isn’t the things that fill our lives and make us rich.  It’s the people who surround us and share our days.  It’s the sights and sounds that fill our ears and our eyes.  It’s the feeling of the “feels” that gives us a wealth that money never could.  It isn’t the things.  It’s everything but the things.

Wishing you all a wonderful Sunday and a full, happy week ahead!  Cheers! Karen