Wanna know my least favorite word in the whole dictionary?
When it comes time for me to say goodbye, you’ll probably find me trying to slip into the back of a car trunk until it is all over. Very elegant, I know. Unfortunately, my all-out aversion to goodbyes has led to some awkward and jarring exits.
I do want to leave my family and friends on a good note, but how?
I have been devising a few strategies for turning the goodbye experience into something positive. I mean seriously guys, who wants to leave for their next adventure or start their new stage-of-life with the weight of a bad goodbye on their shoulders?
Here are some tips that have helped me tremendously:
For me, writing my thoughts on paper allows me to be much clearer and to-the-point about how I feel. If ever there is an excusable time to write a slightly mushy note telling someone how much they’ve always meant to you, it is right when you aren’t going to have to see them for a while.
So you see, goodbyes are the perfect window of time to write notes for family and loved ones. In a note you can:
1) apologise for not properly saying goodbye to them in person (if you are an absolute coward like me)
2) let them know how much they mean to you and how much you miss them
3) tell them something you’ve been meaning to tell them for a while but just didn’t get the chance.
When I moved away from my family for the first time, I tried to find simple goodbye gifts for each of my little siblings. For one sister it was a custom mug with Wales and North Carolina connected by a heart, for another it was a set of goodbye notes to be opened on different days and occasions with tiny trinkets (and money to buy ice cream) inside. It was a fun way for me to tell them ‘hey, I love you and will miss you’, without having to actually say that out loud (and burst out crying). Also, it gave them something to remember me by.
Hidden Notes/ Gifts
Now it is time for level 2 guys! When I left after a nice summer home, I took bright happy looking notecards attached to tiny gifts and hid them all over my sibling’s rooms. When I got back to Wales, they began SnapChatting me pictures as they found their little notes. It was great : )
Set up your next meeting
How is one supposed to cope with the thought of saying goodbye to your bestest friend when you don’t know if you will see them again in one year or even two? Don’t let the overwhelming absence even sink into your brain, trust me, that just isn’t a good idea. Instead, focus on planning your NEXT meeting. Even if the meeting is going to be in a LONG time, you can still dream about it a little.
Whether it is ‘Okay, so when you get back next summer we are defo going to that new Chinese restaurant’ or even ‘let’s plan our epic post-graduate caravan trip to Canada to see the Northern lights in 2020’, as practical or dreamy as your next meeting is, planning a new adventure is much more fun than admitting that your current one has come to an end.
Don’t Say Goodbye
The last and most questionable tactic (#questionablelifemottosfromsusanna) is to simply avoid the issue 100%. When you are at at the airport you need to be focusing on protecting precious documents and getting onto a plane on-time… not the right moment for an emotional break-down. So don’t let it sink in. Be like me and avoid the G word. Don’t acknowledge that you are leaving.
The more conventional and wise way to frame this would be to say: take life one step at a time, one moment at a time. Goodbyes become overwhelming when you focus on a future devoid of one (or all) of your dearest loved ones. However, that isn’t the healthy or realistic way to look at the situation.
You can’t know what your future will look like or who will be in it. You just have to trust that the Lord has a plan and that as you follow Him, things will become clearer and clearer in time. So hug your mom, kiss your little sister, and just don’t think about the dreadful reality that you are leaving them.
Ignore the goodbyes and focus on the hellos. Because did you know that every closed door means a new open door (or window?).
Every goodbye is followed by a fresh beginning.