“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Our lives are a constant flurry of things that come and go. When you’re caught up in it all, it’s easy to miss the little changes. By the time you look around, they’ve already grown big.
Your priorities, your personality, the people you’re surrounded by… they’re not as you remember. You’ve left some things behind because you’re not the same person. Memories that made you smile, now somehow foreign. Colors and feelings a faded picture. Mixed in with a touch of sadness, you recognize what came to pass. This goodbye is as natural as the changing seasons. While the scene you once knew grows smaller in the distance, you look straight ahead for a more breathtaking view.
The paths of our life are intricately woven to cross with many others. Some paths meet in the middle but split off different ways. Others run parallel and never intersect at all. But if you’re lucky, you’ll find paths that weave in and out, always close by. Like parting with a best friend as you leave for summer break. You’ll see them soon again and that hangs comfortably in the air. Distance means nothing but more stories to tell and more laughter to share. It’s as comforting as the sunrise peeking each day at dawn.
The temporary goodbye is for those that easily warm your heart. After all, time takes no toll on this particularly innocent and sweet farewell.
Isn’t it twisted that the people you care about the most are the ones that can really hurt you? Whether the experience was loud and ugly or silent and painful, when something is toxic it has no place in your life. When the realization hits, it’s almost tinged with a little resentment. You couldn’t have seen clearer? You couldn’t have known better?
However even if guilt gnaws at you, this goodbye is absolutely necessary. For the world is big and filled with wonderful things. Memorizing sights and gorgeous dreams. It’s yours to take but only after some distance. You need to be free before you can see. When you say this goodbye, your future starts to open. It’s one of the biggest favors you can do yourself.
College will always have that irreplaceable spot in our hearts. You get to witness how beautiful and utterly messy the beginning of adulthood can be. Filled with sleepless nights and crazy beginnings, college cultivates our ability to basically withstand anything. Yet time flies and before you know it, you’re up on a stage, diploma in hand. You need to leave those wonderful lunatics that were once a knock away. The professor that bored you, the essays that enslaved you.
Good and bad, it’s come to an end. It’s an overwhelming, precious and bittersweet moment. The rollercoaster of emotions that come with this goodbye, truly leave it in a league of its own.
Sometimes when life takes an unexpected turn, it leaves us reeling from the aftereffects. As creatures of habit, it’s not easy to embrace change. Whether it’s a good thing, like getting a new job or a personal reason for moving away, you’ll be putting yourself in a fresh situation. It’ll be a different experience with people you don’t know. Some of the friendships you’ve made up until now will be cut short.
This goodbye has a way of sticking with you. You can’t really shake the feeling of leaving behind things you still wanted to stay around. Because even as you’re moving forward, they’re still moving as well. They’re just moving in a direction you no longer can see.
If you look up the dictionary definition of goodbye, you’ll get something along the lines of “what you say at the end of a conversation.” The deeper, more ultimate meaning of goodbye isn’t something we think about. So when the time comes that you’re actually forced to acknowledge the irrevocable cycle of Nature… it’s shocking, dreadful, and numbing. How can goodbye be so hopeless? So impossibly permanent. Knowing you’ve said last words and had last interactions is really haunting. You want to go back, for time to stand still, but reality is unforgiving. Somehow as grief cleanses your soul, past and present begin to blend. Your memories keep it all alive. The pain and ache won’t ever fully heal but that’s because this final goodbye was not meant to be forgotten.