Happy New Year! When I set 2023 as my retirement year, it seemed impossibly far off, but now the time has come for a big change in my life. People who know me well are unsurprised to learn that I’ve chosen 2/3/23 as my retirement date. I love quirky numbers, oddball expressions, and words of my own making (which I would call vocabularization in Kristi-speak.)
Although I’m very much looking forward to the next phase of my life as a retiree, I can already see how much I’ll miss Meals on Wheels. I can say for certain that I won’t miss the long hours & the stress, the seemingly never-ending paperwork, or the worries about funding and grant-writing. However, the list of things I’ll miss is far longer than those items I’m relieved to abandon. Without question, the #1 on my “Things-I’ll-Miss-List” is the wonderful people I’ve had the honor to know through Meals on Wheels:
Our clients! I’ve enjoyed meeting and sustaining friendships with so many folks over my nearly 15 years here, and each of them holds a special place in my heart. When my kids were young, they loved hearing about the wonderful, extraordinary, unusual, and fun clients I met during home visits, and I think of those visits as probably the highlight of my career.
Our volunteers! With about 500 volunteers helping us fulfill our mission every year, I certainly have not met all the volunteers. However, every day I witness their dedication, and I know how important they become in the lives of our seniors (& our staff!). I truly cannot imagine how Meals on Wheels would function without the contribution of these priceless volunteers, from the folks who help prepare and pack the food, to the volunteers who organize, deliver, & serve the meals, to our administrative volunteers, to our Advisory Council and Board of Directors who help guide our agency.
Our staff! People outside our agency cannot possibly know what amazing people work at Meals on Wheels. Our staff is incredibly talented and capable; they would be a success at any business, but they choose to work here and to stick with us because they are committed to our seniors. I am eternally grateful for their support and hard work. Without exception, our staff make their overwhelmingly difficult jobs look easy, and they do so with good humor and positivity.
As I close out my final month or so with Mid-Columbia Meals on Wheels and my final newsletter update, I want to acknowledge what an honor & privilege it has been to serve our seniors and our community. Even on my most challenging and frightful work days, there has never been a time when I haven’t been sincerely proud to work for our agency and proud of the work we accomplish. I’m grateful to know that this important work will successfully continue long after my departure, prepared for the day when I need the service.