Perhaps the right question is: “Why don’t I think about goodbyes?”
In a world where we are often busy with our daily routines; school, work, extra curricular activities, traffic, shopping, family, friends; we tend to get home and think about the next get away trip. When things don’t go well at home, we think of leaving to start a new life. All we want is to go away and forget about our problems, or at least our busy routines.
Sitting on your comfortable couch, watching Netflix, laying in your bed, going up and down your phone screen: these are considered the best places to think and imagine where you want to go next. We think about everything: if our next place will be to a city next to our home, or a country to which we have never been before, the budget, the date, who we want to go with. Should we take the camera, GoPro, or the latest phone to take the best photos (and sometimes when you are alone, the best selfies, to post on Instagram or facebook.
We wonder about what we will eat, what are the best tourist destinations, what cultural events to attend, which beaches are the best or most empty, or for those like me, who like to explore big cities, we think about what are the tallest building or highest mountain in town to see the whole city or that beautiful sunset.
Or to be emerged in the diversity area of that place to take the best portraits. We check our budget and think: hotel, hostel or AirBnb? Shared or private room? Should I go alone or with a group of friends?
We all know that either alone or accompanied, we always look forward to meeting new people, and most of the time, that person will be from a country far away from yours. We get excited, but we never think about the goodbye at the end of the trip. The preparation happens, we book everything, and we go, for weeks, months, or even years.
After 25 years attending conferences, traveling to places I have never been before, living abroad three times, meeting people with the same purpose as mine, I have learned that I easily get attached to people, places and moments, because they are responsible for helping me to create the best memories of my life.
These are people:
People that I learn a lot with, people that concentrate their energies and time in making this world a better place. People I sit with to laugh, sing and have conversations that can change my day, that can change my life, that can change the perspective of the world around me. People that I often walk in the same path of service.
People who I try to make the most of my time with, but it never feels like enough. And all of a sudden you realize that tomorrow will be the last day you will spend together, at least for that time. You start thinking, you get sad, cry, and concentrate all of your energies in the negative side of that word: goodbye.
There are times you deal better with some goodbyes than others, sometimes you know that goodbye will be just a see you soon, but there are other times you just avoid, you ignore, you choose not say goodbye, you regret not giving that last hug or being close to that special person. You pretend all is well and being in touch over a phone screen will be just fine. But we know that one day we all go back to our busy routines and forget about being in touch, or we choose not to.
During those days you create memories, and thanks to the advancement of technology, the photos you take and the videos you record can all become lifetime memories. You post them, share them once, and after, 1,2,10 years, Facebook will keep reminding you about that memory you had with that person in that country, and sometimes I think: I wasn’t strong enough to say goodbye, and now all I have is memories and distance.
Today as I write this, I wished I could find the answer for such attachment.
Life has taught me to try to love those around me, to learn from one another, and to see the best in people. I get attached, and if I try to be in touch with you, it is because somehow you changed my life with your actions, with what you said or the way you let me be part of your life, and this is the reason I don’t like to think about goodbyes: there is no “good” in “goodbyes”.
Rainn Wilson once said; “The past and future are illusions, one is a dream and the other just hasn’t happened yet. Life is really only available to you in the present moment…be here now. Strive to live. The past and the future are simply anxious illusions.”
For my future I hope that ‘goodbye’ becomes ‘see you soon.’ And when I think about the past, I am thankful, because life gave me the opportunity to meet great people at great places and to create great memories. You might see thinking too much about the past as a negative thing, but for me, it is a way of being thankful for the opportunities I have had. And for that same past I had, I never want to say goodbye.