Since I got started a little late on my sharing my journey, I am going to backtrack a bit today to the day Tim, Seth and I sat in my office and talked about the future and setting a time line.
Always one to bury my head in the sand when it comes to tackling a situation I am not comfortable with, I still knew this time was different than the hundreds of previous impromptu meetings we have had through the years. Yet, even while we were talking about something that took us out of our comfort zone, I looked at the two men in the room with me and realized how very fortunate I was. Through the years, I have known several administrators who faced a bleak and scary future because strangers purchased their companies, or new changes came down the pike and they were not part of the plan or the change– often due to no fault of their own. I remember one of my friends telling me that the new corporate representatives came in and gave her a box and an hour to clear out– I told Tim if he fired me, he would have to give me a pickup truck and 3 days — and that would just clear my desk!! I have always known that when the time came, the plan was for Seth to take the reins. Over the past few months, we have been working together, first as he finished the class work required, then I mentored him as he completed the AIT portion of getting his Administrators license. I have been part of the changes that have evolved and have been very pleased with them–he and Josie putting into words and writing the goals and visions that have always been our base, but now is more focused because it is written and shared with all staff.
To be honest, I cannot really remember who said exactly what that morning and it was uncomfortable for all of us, but in true Sunrise (and Stauffer)fashion, it was done with finesse and I felt they truly were sensitive to the entire situation. Time is truly the culprit here and it is something no one can do anything about. The ball was left in my court and I was able to make my own time line and they supported me completely.
The timing seemed to be good– I was just completing my 27th year, the first of October was bringing a whole new set of rules from “the powers above”, (CMS) and we had just hired a new DON. It is imperative that the DON and Administrator have a strong bond with a solid base and it seemed only right that they start out together. The decisions and policies that will be made from this point on, need to be theirs.
Having said all that, it was and sometimes still is hard to say DONE. I was still getting up every morning looking forward to going to work. I had not even given much thought to retirement— I wasn’t really 66— that was just a vicious rumor and as long as no one said the words, it was a reality I didn’t have to face. But like toothpaste — (once out of the tube, there is no going back) — I REALLY AM 66!
I left for the day–too emotional to be very productive for the rest of the day– and not even sure what I was thinking, feeling, planning. Once the reality sort of sunk in though I began to feel a bit excited for a new future. Scared but really ready to open the next door. I grabbed a calendar, picked a date and began to try to figure out what would come next.