Time for a new beginning

Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2003

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new."

Alan Cohen

It does take a lot of courage to step away from the familiar. If you've ever been restless, in need of change, then you have experienced the challenge of self-imposed change. I know I found myself in need of a new beginning but concerned about the amount of change it would involve.

In researching how to deal with change, I noticed there are numerous ways to examine it. The model that appealed to me the most started with an ending. Yes, an ending.

In this model, the ending is actually the beginning of the transition of change.

An end marks the death of the old. Examples of what could be endings are old habits given up, close friends moving or a change in jobs. In each of these examples something is always given up. Even when the change involves a new opportunity, there is an ending to the existing pattern of behavior.

The bridge between the ending and a new beginning is what is considered the neutral zone. There is typically a struggle with the situation and mourning, as well.

This is an important time to process the experience and the feelings in the situation. Options and probable consequences are identified. Experimenting with the new beginning starts. New plans are made.

From the planning process the new beginning emerges along with new goals and new relationships. Gradually, a new lifestyle or pattern of behavior, possibly with different sources of satisfaction, develops.

With all this said, I would like to tell you about my ending. This is my last news column, as I am preparing to leave on a six-month sabbatical. This ending has all the elements leaving friends, giving up the familiar routine and a change in my job. And trust me, it has taken courage and faith.

Although this is a big change for me, the sabbatical I have planned will be rewarding. I will be learning about the role motivation plays in physical activity. I also will be working with Dr. Miriam Nelson, author of the Strong Women books, in establishing strength-training programs for women.

The third part of my sabbatical is to visit and survey the guide dog schools on the West Coast in order to write an addendum to our puppy-raising manual on helping raisers process the grief of loss and separation.

The Cooperative Extension Service is committed to serving the people of the Kenai Peninsula. We will be hiring a part-time program assistant to cover for me in my absence from August to February

I will be submitting articles on food preservation throughout the summer, as I believe this is critical information for visitors and locals alike.

I want to express my gratitude to the staff at the Peninsula Clarion for their support of The Home File for the past seven years. Dori Lynn Anderson and Lori Evans have been amazing to work with!

I wish you all happy new beginnings!

Linda Tannehill is an agent at the Alaska Cooperative Extension Office. She is a home economist and involved in the 4-H/Youth Development programs. The Kenai Peninsula District Extension Office is at 43961 Kalifornsky Beach Road, Suite A, Soldotna, AK. The phone number is 262-5824 or toll-free at (800) 478-5824.

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