How Can Anyone Say Goodbye?
I’m starting to feel all panicky that I am leaving all my friends in t-minus four or so days. Thoughts keep cropping-up like “WHAT THE HECK ARE WE DOING?” or “WHY DID WE THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?” and mostly, “WHY IN THE WORLD ARE WE LEAVING THESE PEOPLE?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
In-and-out, baby. Just breathe. Breathe. Take deep breaths and DO NOT THINK ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!!!!
At least not yet. There will be plenty of time for this after I leave. In fact, there will be horrific amounts of heartaching, breaking, time.
This is my typical reaction to change. I just love change so very much. I love the idea of change so very much. But I actually hate its implementation.
When I was about twelve, somewhere in-between future nurse/ballerina/fireman/postman and writer, I wanted to be a storm-chaser (you can read more about my childhood aspirations here). Storm-chasing was my calling. I had to strongly separate myself from the rush of non-serious, storm-chasing, popular crowd that followed the movie Twister. I was going to work at the Severe Storms Laboratory in Kansas despite Hollywood’s glamour.
Then I realized that all the doodling on my math and science tests, combined with that I only enjoyed imaginary or abstract concepts, while only remembering facts that revolved around people, probably didn’t lend me to become a good meteorologist. Besides, I discovered the Severe Storms Laboratory was actually in Oklahoma. That totally messed with the mojo of storm-chasing.
I didn’t grow-up to become Helen Hunt in Twister, but I do think I became a change-chaser. You’ve read my struggle as I fought my natural desire to always chase new things, learning how to embrace the stability of family life and grow roots in the D.C. suburbs. And you’ve also seen me on the front rows begging for change and advocating it into existence.
At first change is amazing, awesome in the distance. It is a thrilling whirlwind, cumulus clouds rising and wind blowing. Then the rain pounds and the wind howls. It is great. This proves that it is real. It isn’t just some warning pinging at me from my weather app. It is legit! At this point you know that If wasn’t tied down before, it has blown away by now. Good riddance, extra beach ball and pinwheel! THIS IS NOW A STORY!
But then the glass begins to break. The gales destroy and life is on the line. There is no going back now, because capital “C” Change has hit as a F-freakin’-5 freight-train of deadly glory and I am right in its path!
It is too late to run and hide. Change might be cool, but transition sucks.
So I just cry and breathe in lament. You see, when change hits big, like a move or a heartbreak, I usually cry a lot. In fact, I’ve been known to be snot-faced, tear-pooled, puffy-eyes for days on end.
But is obvious why, right? This storm I’ve been chasing has hit uncontrollably strong and there is no more denial, no more excitement. I can only either fear the storm, or accept its fate with grace (or snot-faced tears).
But how can I accept this fate? Or more specifically, how can I imagine a life I haven’t had for the last ten years? With this move–a massive change I’ve wanted for years–there are only a few things not changing in my life right now. And these are pretty much just my immediate family and God. And, as both myself and my immediate family are also always morphing (for better or worse)–really, this strips me to one constant, actually the same and only constant that will remain at death.
Why is it the only true constant I have also happens to be the one that jumps past logic and resides in the intangible realm of faith, hope, and love?
As you can see in my last post, my friends coming through can easily be categorized as a constant. But even that one immense thing–these lovely people who’ve surrounded me and let me bleed into them–even they won’t remain. And I can’t help but grieve greatly for that loss, because no matter what, these people cannot be replaced and our relationships will transform into something different. Saying goodbye defines heartbreak.
No wonder I am panicking! Imagine finding yourself naked in the middle of Manhattan or in front of your graduating class, when you rather preferred the comfortable skin of your clothes. This all feels so stripped-bare. I am not running towards, let alone chasing this storm anymore! It is about to clobber me! IT’S GONNA STEAL EVERYTHING (I.E., EVERYONE)!!!!!!
I take it back–I HATE change!
So I weep. I try to breathe. I flip-flop between the denial I know I can’t maintain much longer and deep, wrenching grief. Then I try to breathe again. Screw storm-chasing scientists! Instead, the little girl inside me imagines I am holding hands with my one true constant, thankful I at least am not alone. Only then might I be able to bravely walk into this colossal storm of change rolling in.
Are you a change-chaser or a change-hater? Do you like the new, but like me, when it gets close you freak-out? How do you handle saying goodbye?
Most importantly, how do you walk into the storm?