This August and September are the months of farewells.
For me and many of my friends, this is the beginning of the transitioning from pre-university studies to university. It means old friends parting, new friends made. We uproot ourselves and try to submerge our roots in completely different soil, hoping we would thrive.
It is a time of possibilities. Frightening, new, but undeniably exciting.
It is curious to note that goodbyes, or relationships fading away over time, always tend to be viewed negatively. It is an “end”, a finishing. You will not see this person any more, some even go as far as eliminating ALL communication.
But I think the relationships we have in our lives are a continuum. Once you’ve started there is no proper end. You may think, for instance, that your best friend has moved away to another country and that is that, you’ll never see them again – but they may visit you in 6 months. Or you may be moving to that country they moved to, 5 years down the road because your job required you to relocate there. And then that friend you thought you had lost to distance returns, and you enjoy your relationship pretty much as it was before, unless either you or your friend have so changed that your selves are no longer compatible with each other.
But this is why I don’t believe in “goodbye”. Because it implies permanence, a certainty that this is the end of a particular chapter in your life with these people. And for many farewells, this is simply not the case. Our “goodbyes” are often temporary – a prolonged “see you later” rather than “goodbye”. It is a reality that people come and go in our lives – but though you may be leaving them now, you just don’t know for sure when or if you will see them again later.
Think of your life as a river. It doesn’t stop flowing. At different points in your life you will be joined by little streams that flow into your river – these little streams are the people you form relationships with. They flow into your life, and at some point, they flow back out – perhaps to branch off and flow into other rivers.
But sometimes the courses of our lives take us back to the streams we thought had left our rivers for good. The streams re-join us at unexpected times and locations. In the end, all rivers flow somewhere. In the end, all of us meet.
That’s why I don’t believe in goodbyes. Because if even the dead continue to touch our lives, can we really say there is a definite end to our relationships with people? Each person we meet and spend time with continues to be a part of us even if we no longer enjoy their physical presence, even if worldly communication with them is no longer possible.
It may be painful to part with loved ones, but we can always take heart that we will meet them again, someday, somewhere.
That’s why I don’t believe in goodbyes. We never truly part for good. So long as the memories last, the people we love will always be there with us.