One of the most frequent sentiments we’ve heard in conversations this holiday season is “no regrets” seeing 2021 come to a close. It’s been a difficult and stressful year for so many in this devastating pandemic. We share the sentiment, not only because of Covid, but because complications from Jay’s cancer treatments kept us in and out of hospitals and emergency rooms all year. We, too, are eager to leave 2021 behind us. And we have deep hope and faith that Jay will remain cancer free and growing stronger this year.
As 2021 was coming to a close, Jay and I had to take a hard and honest look at our little Tech Over 60 business, a post-retirement business that we had both come to love. We set out to help our fellow seniors become more comfortable and feel safer and more competent with technology, but we ended up having a much richer experience.
One of our Davis Enterprise columns was titled “The very human side of tech support,” in which we described the sometimes sometimes poignant, often deightful and always enriching experiences we have had with our clients. We didn’t want or expect these experiences to come to an end so soon. But as the holidays approached, we had to make an honest assessment of how the past year had changed what we are able to provide to our dear clients. And with heavy hearts we are now facing the need to retire our beloved business.
So, how do you let go of something so near and dear to your heart? In this last year of so much loss and trauma for so many, the ability to know when to hold on and when it’s time to let go has never been so relevant. And once you recognize that it is indeed time to let go, how can you loosen your heartstrings’ tight grip and find a way to soften the strong emotional attachment you feel?
In my pre-retirement professional life I was a licensed psychotherapist. I worked with grief and loss on a daily basis. Besides making sure you have abundant emotional support, perhaps the most important way to approach endings is to allow yourself to be courageously real and honest about how it feels to acknowledge and to allow difficult endings with grace and gratitude.
What is real and honest for Jay and me is that our hearts hurt about saying goodbye to Tech Over 60. We stalled for the last several months of last year before having that “come to Jesus” conversation in which we acknowledged the need to do so. We just weren’t ready. But we reflected and talked and worked hard (we therapists like to call this “emotional processing”) and as the new year begins we find that we are ready to let go and to move forward, focusing on Jay’s continuing recovery and just seeing whatever is next for us. We are still sad but we feel at peace now with this decision.
So with gratitude in our hearts we want to thank Debbie Davis for inviting us three years ago to write our monthly column for the Davis Enterprise, and Sebastian Oñate for allowing us to keep it going after Debbie retired. Most of all we thank the wonderful seniors of this community, who trusted us in their homes and with their vunerable feelings about technology. We thank those who attended our downtown classes. We also thank the management at University Retirement Center for having us teach for their residents, and of course we thank the many URC residents who started as students and became friends with whom we hope to stay in touch. We’re grateful to the 200 folks who subscribed to our Tech Over 60 newsletter, and to those who supported our business with financial donations so that we could provide free and reduced fee services when needed. Finally, we deeply thank the clients who reached out with meals, offers of logistical support, and messages of care and concern following Jay’s cancer diagnosis.
Gratitude, it turns out, is the thing that helps soften grief.
Thank you for your love and support.
Jacci and Jay