I still hate saying goodbye. But I think I am getting better at it. My first experience of big goodbyes was when I was 16 and leaving Ireland after 9 months of living and studying there. I was a mess. The farewells were long and drawn out and I was melancholic for the last week of being with my friends, every thought was ‘this will be the last time this happens’. For months after, I pined for everything I had left until my mother stepped in and told me to snap out of it. She said that I was back in Aus now and that wasn’t about to change with my sulking. The reason I was so very down about the situation (apart from that I was 16 and what 16 year old doesn’t dramatise situations?) was because I thought that I may never see these people and places again. That I would never have those experiences of being so close with them again. I thought those things were dead and so I mourned them as if they were gone forever.
8 years on and I have been back to Ireland 4 times as well as seen some of those friends in other countries. Guess what? They hadn’t disappeared when I left and neither had the places or our ability to connect and have fun, just like old times. If my 16 year old self had known this, would I have left with a smile? Maybe not quite but I would not have wasted weeks to feeling sorry for myself which is always a good activity to avoid.
But at least I learnt from the experience. When I studied with a group of crazy and engaging Americans in England and the time came to leave, I did still shed tears (pro tip, don’t watch ‘Dear John’ or any other tear jerker when you have just had emotional experience farewelling friends) but I was also confident that I would be seeing them again. I told them it wasn’t goodbye, just ‘see you soon’. And I did, just a year later.
Nowadays I say a lot of goodbyes (and hellos!) and I am getting better. I have found that I do still feel pangs for experiences that I know will never happen again, for instance, driving Alessio to school for the last time I was very aware that I was looking much closer at everything, taking it in for the last time and when I got home I mentally stopped and told myself that that was that. Now however I am more likely to be thankful that it happened than sad that it is finished. And saying goodbye to the family? That was easy. There are very few people that I have had that much interaction with that I have not seen again and so for me it is very much just a ‘see you soon’.
People do change but if you have had that connection with them once, in my opinion it is bound to happen again, even years on.
So when you leave, even when its hard, tell yourself that you will be back and you will have this fun and see these people again. And if you keep telling yourself this, you will work towards it and it will happen.
See you all soon.