I’ve got a confession, guys: I’ve never been good at goodbyes. In fact, I’m kind of the worst. And this isn’t a new revelation; ever since I was little I had a tendency to break into the sweats, to turn into a ball of stress in the days, hours, minutes leading up to any sort of parting. Suffice to say I’ve pretty much nailed the art of trying to stifle the ugly cry (Crying?! Oh no hahaha I’m not crying. I just was doing some onion chopping. You know, just in case I wanted to…make salsa later? It’s never too early to Taco Tuesday.)
This morning as I drove into work, my last day at Westwood College, this notion of goodbye weighed heavily on my heart. This has been a day that as you can imagine, I’ve been dreading for quite some time, a day that was always in the distance, just hanging there like a black cloud, or that left eyebrow that doesn’t ever want to cooperate. Everyone, both the students and the staff were told months ago that the school was closing, which I guess I am grateful for. We had time to prepare, to ready ourselves, to get the closure that we all wanted and deserved. But it still doesn’t make it any easier, any less scary or sad.
I think one of the reasons why goodbyes are so hard for me is because they signify an ending. I love a good beginning, and don’t even get me started about the middle. y’all! But endings, I’ve got mixed feelings. Whether it be a career change, a decision to move to another city, our SO breaking up with us or vice versa – these types of life altering occurrences feature endings that weigh heavily on our emotions. Whether you saw it coming or were completely blindsided, the feelings are still going to be present. In reality, there’s no amount of time in advance that can fully prepare us for the actual goodbye — the part where the moment we’ve been dreading finally comes to fruition, or the worst case scenario you hadn’t expected suddenly snatches comfort from your grasps.
You should have seen me when I reached the page of the seventh and final Harry Potter book. I was a hot mess. I was the hottest of the messes, actually. I put off reading the last chapter for weeks, months, because I thought that if I just kept that last chapter open and left unfinished, it would always be there to come back to, a moment preserved in time. If I didn’t finish it, the ending wouldn’t feel real, it wouldn’t be real.
Of course as with all things in life, most good things, great things have to come to an end at some point. It may be hard, it may be scary and sad and unpronounced in the initial moment (or days, months and even years afterwards), but these endings can sometimes be blessings in disguise. I’m gonna totally cliché you here, but when a door closes, sometimes it really is a catalyst for an even better window to open, a window that allows you the opportunity to grow, to learn, to change. Many of the things that I have done or the people that I have had the incredible chance to meet and get to know in my life—professionally, academically, and even in my relationships–have been because of a previous goodbye, an ending that was the precursor to an even greater beginning.
The truth is, goodbyes are never going to be something we can really fully adapt to. They’re all different and each one is followed by a different person, place or thing being absent in our lives. There are the necessary goodbyes that we feel a sense of relief after, but even then, to know that something we once felt strongly about or comfortable with is going to cease to exist can be scary. And that’s okay. It means we’ve felt, we’ve loved, we were lucky enough to care so deeply about something.
Maybe we should eliminate “goodbye” from our vocab. Ciao, farewell, later, ta-ta, adieu — any of those feel a lot less concrete and final, and leave that window open for an incredible hello.
To my Westwood family, I love you, I love you all, and I will see you later. ❤