Goodbyes, and why I don’t say them

If you know me in real life there’s a good chance that you don’t always know when I’m coming or going.  Unless you’re family, in which case I’ll print you a detailed itinerary, but if you’re not I don’t expect that you want to know that much about my life.  I mean, I’ll talk your ear off about it if you ask, and I’ll blog about it, but I try not to make it this big thing that needs to be commemorated.

Before I left town to prepare to get back on the ship… I really didn’t tell anyone except the people we were living with.  I mean, people knew, but I didn’t tell them the last time we had dinner “Ok, well this is the last time I’ll see you for awhile, goodbye.”  And some people may not have even realized that I left right away.  Sometimes I feel bad about that.  But then I think that this isn’t like a deployment or a permanent move.  I’ll see you by the time the next season comes around.

And more and more I’m realizing that I really dislike goodbyes.  Not the casual goodbyes, but those big goodbyes that we do.  I feel like I’m at a point in my life where I don’t need them.

To me a true goodbye is like closing a door, it’s like saying that you’ll never see or spend time with that person again.  But the truth is, most of the time we do.  The only people I WANT to say goodbye to are people who bring negative things to my life (not many of those lately, thank goodness), and if that’s the case then they don’t deserve the time it takes to craft a goodbye (notable exception to this rule: soon-to-be ex-boyfriends or girlfriends that were terrible to you, goodbyes can be a part of closure).

The people I love… I’m going to see them again.  Because I’m going to make the effort.  If I say goodbye, it’s like saying, “well, I don’t think we’ll see each other again, so this is the end.”  So I don’t make a big deal of goodbyes any more.  Because there’s facebook and video calls and e-mail and cell phones, and if none of that works out I’ll be back in a few months.  And if you move then I’ll drive to see you sometime, or I need to make a trip out west anyway, so I’ll come visit on my next vacation.  It may take time to see you again, but I will.  And quite honestly, there have been so many moments in my life where I think I won’t see someone again and we end up living or working in the same space.  Life’s weird like that.  I just know I’m going to see you again.  I know it.

I also know everyone doesn’t feel this way. And so if you have felt slighted by me, for not saying goodbye or giving you notice of my departure (instead of slinking out of town like I did this time), I’m sorry.  This is how I deal with the fact that I can’t have everyone with me all the time (which would be the solution, I wish you were all pocket-sized), and I hope it doesn’t hurt your feelings. And don’t worry that we didn’t say goodbye, because I will see you again.

What do you think of goodbyes?

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2 thoughts on “Goodbyes, and why I don’t say them

  1. You know what I just realized while reading this post? As much as I hate goodbyes, I typically “need” them. I’m the type that, if it’s going to be a long time before I see the person again, I need to know it and say it. It doesn’t have to be emotional or anything, but I need an extra hug and to know that I’ve savored the moment with the person.

    On the other hand, I do get that not everyone is like that. “The Guy” doesn’t do goodbyes. Not even on the phone. We hadn’t seen each other in 3 1/2 years and had dinner last week when he was in town. As we were leaving, not knowing when he’d be back, I told him “bye” and he said his standard line, “Later you.”

    • I have taken too long to get back to this comment, better late than never. I know my way’s not the only way, and I do have friends who need goodbyes, and I’m happy to oblige, but if it’s up to me, I normally avoid it. I just want to see you before I go. But I totally get where you’re coming from…

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