“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That’s what my grandpa, “Cowboy Baker” used to say. The reality is, as my circumstances change around me, I gotta change with it. That means doing things differently than I have become comfortable with. My own mom, the Matriarch of the Baker family, known for her tenacity and grit, otherwise known as “the bull the granny suit”, just now retired at 70. Well, she didn’t really retire, she now has her own consultancy and has earned the right to speak to anyone who will listen about water conservation and preservation. Awarded honors from Governors and Presidents, she Chairs one board and sits on 2 others having to do with earth altering water issues. But the day job is now passed. That part, is retired.
Here I am at 50, in Africa, 4 kids. I pioneered an organization together with my husband for 25 years. A staff of over 120 and even more volunteers serving in programs with a reach on average of 10,000 people monthly. It grew from “me n pop” to what it is today. Now comes the hard part. The part that has to be hard for anyone who has birthed it, burped it and changed its dirty diapers. We’ve seen it grow exponentially and now its time to let it go so it can outlive us!
Whew! What does that even look like? Oh, we’ve had the specialists in, we have a growth plan and all that. But the heart part is what I wasn’t prepared for. We aren’t “leaving” as such, but we are in transition. We are told that we are now at the policy making level and have the role of inspiring the team and casting vision for them. Yikes! That is what got us this far in the first place! The policy part, we had little to do with, really. Through the years, key people came in and helped us do that. At some point though, maintaining the growth of what is, and cultivating new ground with new seed for fields yet unknown, seems scarey to me. Why? Did I think I would stay here till I died? Actually, yes, I did! I guess I thought since it was for life that I committed, that meant that’s how long I would do it. Who does it belong to? Me? Not really. God? You bet! He started it and He will complete it.
When I married Jerry, 25 years ago, I said I wanted to help make his dreams come true. Has that changed? Together we have built dreams, some have been his and some have been mine. But its time to dream again. I gotta be “the wind beneath his wings” like the song says. Seriously. We have lived an incredible life. Do I want to finish my race with my life partner? You bet I do! He is a pretty amazing guy to hang out with. Adventure finds us – together! Neither of us are ready for the rocking chair. (Except I will always be ready to rock our babies at Lorato House, our orphanage for babies!) We have been immersed in this work together and is it possible that we could now dream for the future? Do something different?
Like my mom, we will be at the Board level for some time. 5 boards to be exact. I am learning what that means, but woven into it all? The sky is the limit! So let me gather up my things, and embrace this thing called Transition, it is my friend.