A Goodbye Letter to All of My Friends
As many of my friends go off to college, the military, or wherever else their life may take them, I wanted to take a moment to share with them a bit of advice, or rather my feelings on the bittersweet moment that is saying goodbye to someone. Of course, no post would be complete without referencing something German, and I'd like to point out that the German word for goodbye is auf wiedersehen, which roughly translates to "until we see each other again". I think this is a better way of looking at goodbyes. In today's digital age, it is becoming increasingly easy to reconnect with old friends, be it through facebook, skype, or just sending an email or text asking how they have been doing.
Although goodbyes are often difficult, they also signal the beginning of something new, a chance to reinvent oneself and take advantage of a plethora of exciting opportunities. One blogger I follow captures the essence of this quite nicely in an email he recently sent out, and I'd like to share it all with you.
Here are some of Colin Wright's thoughts on goodbyes:
"Something I've learned about myself over the years is that I'm not great at goodbyes.
It's not that I find them difficult or onerous, but rather that I often fail to register them as being negative. Yes, we're approaching the end of something, which is consequential. But I generally spend more time thinking what I'm moving toward rather than what I'm leaving behind, which can conflict with the moroseness one is supposed to feel at such moments.
I've gotten better at explaining this to people so that they don't get the wrong impression. In my mind, this isn't 'goodbye' in the sense that we won't see each other anymore, but 'goodbye' in the sense of 'see you later.' We live in the future, we have astounding technologies that can move us around, help us communicate over vast distances, and allow us to share our lives across planetary hemispheres. Geographic distance doesn't really intimidate me, but I know that for some, such distances represent a radical and possibly negative adjustment to how things have been. For some, changes represent little more than endings.
I can understand that sentiment. But change needn't be a bad thing. A change in rhythm, in tenor, in daily habits, in what we're exposed to, in the work we do, in our relationship status, in the keys we have in our pocket and the space we return to each night—it needn't be daunting or debilitating. These changes are just as likely to be positive as negative. And the former is more likely, in fact, if we decide this newness is going to be positive regardless of what we find on the other side; if we decide to make the most of whatever comes next.
An established way of living and doing things is calming and comfortable. It's predictable, and it allows one's brain to chill the hell out for a time.
But shaking up that routine, those habits, creates a period of near-infinite opportunity. It's an in-flux quantum superstate that can land absolutely anywhere. If you no longer go about your day on autopilot, if you no longer assume certain cycles and milestones, you can do anything, any time. You can fix problems view new habits. You can take up new hobbies, do your work differently, spend more time with friends and family, or more time with yourself. Or both.
Endings are the opening act for new beginnings, and part of why they can be so stressful is that we're suddenly responsible for our future happiness in a way we haven't been for maybe a good, long while. During a period of relative predictability, maintaining our rituals and holding down the fort keeps us engaged and occupied. Moving away from that routine, we instead must exert ourselves by filtering through our countless options and figure out not just what our new lives will look like, but who we will be, next. We have to figure out what priorities will shape our environments, and if we have what it takes to accomplish what we think we might be able to get done...approached intentionally, with enthusiasm and care, our conclusions can serve as reintroductions. For us toward the world, unveiling a brand new self, but also the world toward us, reigniting a flame of curiosity and passion, rediscovering what it feels like not to know, but to enjoy finding out."
I hope that guest post inspired you to take advantage of all the opportunities coming your way this fall whether you are going to community college or will be travelling the world on a gap year.
I wish you all the best and can't wait to see all the amazing ways each of you will impact the world we live in.
Thank you my friends.
The photo is of some of my friends and I at a graduation party. Sorry I couldn't put up a picture with everyone but know that you are all in my heart.