In just 20 days, I will be graduating from college. When I flip my tassel from one side to the other, I will be closing the most vital chapter of my life thus far.
I will walk across the stage, tears in my eyes, and hug my friends who enabled me to survive these past four years. I will say goodbye to my professors, my mentors, my community.
But how do I say goodbye to somewhere?
How can I possibly say goodbye to the place that welcomed me with open arms? The place that pinched me to make sure I was alive, and with a final embrace, will release me into the world outside?
I want to say goodbye to the First Beautiful Day After Winter that inevitably comes each year, bringing hope and rejuvenation with it.
I want to say goodbye to the pond I have walked around a thousand times with tears in my eyes and thoughts dancing around my mind.
I even want to say goodbye to the nights I didn’t sleep, frustration and fatigue boiling over in the morning. I am so much stronger because of them.
I want to say goodbye to the quad, most alive on sunny days. The tightrope walkers, the hoola-hoopers, the hookah smokers, the tanners, and then those like me. The people who just sit with their friends, talking about nothing in particular. Our laughter harmonizing with the other contented sounds.
My life is in this place. My identity and my passion are here.
These have been the years of strength, of self-discovery, of pride. The years of reflection and understanding.
So how do I possibly say goodbye to the place that planted seeds into my soul and encouraged me to bloom?
In 20 days, I will leave quietly. This place won’t remember me. In a few years, I will be just a whisper in the wind, swirling through the vibrant autumn trees.
But I will remember my time here. My life here. My self here.
I’m not entirely sure if there even is a way to say goodbye to somewhere. But maybe it’s for the best.
Maybe this isn’t goodbye, but just a “see you later.”