published Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Upton: Goodbyes lead to new hellos

By Tabi Upton

Dear readers:

One of the reasons I like the Hello Kitty brand is that I prefer hellos to goodbyes most all the time. That cat seems to always be announcing a new day with a bright, happy face -- and I don't even like cats. That's powerful.

There are many hellos to experience in this life. They stand like open doors, inviting us to walk through them into new relationships, new jobs, new experiences. My hello to column writing came as a result of a deal I made with a friend who was mad at me for taking a hiatus from writing.

I've enjoyed writing my whole life. I'd send friends and family humorous letters, write short stories about funny life events or expound on my intense feelings about social or personal issues. When this paused, she exhorted me to begin to write again. I told her teasingly she needed to return to some things in her life as well, like school. So she went back to school, and I presented my clips to the Times Free Press. It was a good hello for both of us. She completed a degree. I began this column.

This one hello has made a huge impact on my life. I've had opportunities to express myself through writing on a regular basis. I've met

wonderful people, spoken to groups of individuals and made fun media appearances.

Sadly, however, the time for goodbye has come. Twelve years later, I am thinking of new ways to express my heart and mind. I am hoping for new beginnings in my career, in the location of my work, in my outlook on life.

I've thought of what I will have to leave behind, and I've hated to do it. I have reflected on the need to let go of certain things in order to grab hold of new ones. We can't carry everything at once in life. When we try, we end up dropping them like excessive grocery bags. We have to choose certain things to carry, then lay those down, pick up a few more, and so on. We get to experience them better this way, savor them. And so, I am laboring to let go.

I have reluctantly let go of relationships that had run their course, thought patterns that were hurting me, habitual behaviors that weren't helping me. I fought myself to see them off, but when I did, new people, new ways of seeing and thinking, new opportunities began to emerge.

So, today, I am saying goodbye to this column. I so appreciate you for reading it, sharing your comments and appreciating (or not) my thoughts. I thank the paper for giving me such an opportunity and my editors for helping me sound better through the years. I have been honored and humbled by this platform. It has been an amazing experience. Please look for me in new places. I would love to write more about travel, or spin an interesting series now and then, or share some reviews.

You have been more than gracious to me, and I can't thank you enough. I hope we keep in touch. Love, your humble columnist-turned-writer, Tabi.

Tabi Upton is a counselor, writer and speaker. Contact her her at tabiupton@bellsouth.net.

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