“Never forget me, because if I thought you would, I’d never leave.”
– A.A. Milne
As usual, there’s a reason for my blogging absence—college prep stuff has hit me like a tidal wave. “College Prep” stuff really falls into three categories: taking care of the final paperwork/payment jazz, packing and buying everything I’ll need to take with me, and saying goodbye to most of the people who pretty much make up my life.
I’ll blog soon about college packing, because that’s an interesting endeavor. But for now, I just wanted to write the first of what I suspect will be two or three posts about saying goodbye. I know I’ve touched on this subject before, but here’s a full, concentrated nostalgia burst.
I’m about halfway through my goodbyes right now. The first one came at the very end of July, when I had to make what will probably end up being the hardest one: my girlfriend.
To be technical, she isn’t my girlfriend anymore. She left for a college trip at the end of July. Then she planned to be back for one day and head up to college for good in mid-August. So, we decided it would be best to break up before she headed off on her trip, so that we could divvy up the break-up and goodbye portions rather than doing them both at once.
I’m surprised at how many people were shocked to hear we were breaking up. A lot of my friends said the same thing…“Why would you plan a day to split up? Why not try to stay together then see where it goes?”
That was my initial attitude, but luckily my former girlfriend was the smart one of the relationship and maintained that we didn’t want to start off college trying to keep it going. Especially when we’d only see each other once every few months. Speaking from a few weeks later, I can tell you it was the right decision.
We spent our entire last day together, doing everything from seeing the new X-Men movie to walking around the local town square to watching Harry Potter to seeing the sunset at a beach boardwalk. And of course, what would complete the day but a midnight trip to Ihop?
After that, we drove back to her house and said goodbye. It kind of sucked, though she was more worried about me being able to drive home safely in my semi-shocked state. I promised to text her when I got home, which for me meant sending her this picture:
Anyway. I’m not here to describe the details of my relationship, nor its especially clean end. Rather, I’m going to re-iterate something I briefly described in a post the night before I turned eighteen. I defer to childhood me:
“Here’s the thing. There’s no such thing as a definitive goodbye anymore. When you say bye to someone who’s leaving, you’re still going to stay connected on Facebook, and Twitter, and maybe they’ll even visit occasionally.
To use an example: when you say goodbye to your friends before going off to college, it isn’t a definitive goodbye. You’ll still see them during the holidays, and you’ll text them, etc. Let’s agree that the reason we say goodbye is because the WAY we see them is about to change. Instead of hanging out every day, you’ll hang out a few times a year. Less and less as time goes by, and eventually, you’ll stop. Then you realize you don’t really miss them anymore. And you wonder what even happened when you weren’t looking.”
I think that’s a good starting point for my ‘goodbye’ posts. There are two main reasons I’m sad to leave people behind. The first is because I’m going to miss spending time with them, and talking to them, and doing fun things with them.
But the second reason is really why it’s so hard. That being, I’m scared to death that my friends are going to forget about me.
Not entirely, of course. But they’ll move on, make new friends, and I’ll just be a set of old memories. See, I’m not worried about it happening the other way around. I’m quite confident that I’ll still hold onto my friends when I leave, and that I won’t entirely move on from them. It’s just that, I’m afraid they’ll move on from me.
Believe it or not, I’m an optimist. And I think that college is no excuse to really say goodbye to your friends. Think about it: we’re in school from end of August to end of November (three months’ wait). Then we go back; home by mid-December (three weeks’ wait). Then we get to see each other until school starts again in February; home for spring break (six weeks’ wait). Then we go back; home by mid-May (eight weeks’ wait). And at that point, we have a whole new summer to see each other again.
So yes, I’m willing to hold on to my friends, accepting the fact that it’ll be a little different but that we’ll still get to see each other. And I just really hope, pray, that when we do, it’ll be like old times.
I really do hope my friends are willing to hold onto this. I understand that I’m going to meet a whole new set of people up at college, and I’m going to love them, too. But I promise myself—publicly, now, so I can’t back out—to never let go of my old friends. To always be available to text or talk to them, just like I am now. And to hang out whenever I’m home.
Just like everything used to be, except with a lot more stories to tell each other.