What Saying Goodbye Feels Like

Goodbye’s are the most inevitable things in our lives. They’re the most painful yet at the same time the easiest for TCK’s. We are so used to saying bye to people that it becomes habit, a routine. Most of the time thinking in the back of your head, ‘I’ll see you somewhere again’ cause that’s the life we have. You run into each other in random countries at the airport, or on your way to work. I’ve noticed I avoid them, I always tell myself when I see people ‘oh I’ll see them again before I leave’ and I know realistically I won’t have time for that. I just don’t want to admit that I need to say bye to them at that moment knowing I have no idea when I’ll see them again. I don’t want any emotions coming up at that point or the feeling of missing people to already start. I feel like I just got reunited with them now I need to say bye already.

It’s such a normal thing, that I honestly don’t know if its worth it to let the emotional side of it really kick in. The easiest thing of course is to keep that at bay, and pretend everything is okay. I’ve moved so many times in my life, and even in that had so many friends move away from me that saying goodbyes felt like such a routine. I was thinking today that as a kid I think goodbyes are emotional for different reasons. I remember leaving the US after living there a year and crying, leaving Dubai after being there 2.5 years and crying. It wasn’t necessarily that I was old enough to properly understand the impact of not seeing my friends again or I was going to a different school. I think it was realising my entire life was about to change again. I moved so much it was a normality for me, I loved moving it gave me so much. Except now that I look at it I think it may have taken a bit from me everytime too.

However through those experiences I also learned that saying goodbyes are a necessity. It’s good to get closure from friendships or places even though the friendship may not be ending just cause you’re moving. Everything is about to change and letting that really sink in in that moment can be hard cause the emotions are overwhelming but it’s important, cause at some point those emotions will come back to you.

I said bye to Singapore just a few weeks ago. My parents are moving back here and that was my last real connection to Singapore. Of course I know I’m going to go back at some point and visit, maybe for my friends or just purely the nostalgia it brings. But it will 100% be different. It will feel familiar but it won’t feel as home anymore. It’ll feel good to be back, but probably hurt too knowing I left that all behind.

Goodbyes suck. They honestly do because you don’t always have a say in who you say bye to. Sometimes it’s cause you or your person is leaving, other times friendships just end. I’ve had my fair share of both in my life and from each you get to learn different things. When I say bye to my friends cause distance separates us I know the chances of us really staying in touch but I also know if I saw them years down the road I’ll still have a friend in them and them in me. Saying bye to people cause your friendship ends, thats different. I had that this past year. It didn’t make sense to me and it felt weird. We still run into each other a lot and it’s as if we don’t exist to each other anymore. But that’s why there’s importance in the closure because without it my stomach will drop every time I see them again. You get closure, you get to heal the hurt and move on.

The goodbyes aren’t fun but sometimes they’re needed, and at first you feel like there’s this emptiness where they used to be in your heart and mind. But that’s why I love the TCK community and my friends who experience that life too, because that we know that emptiness is also filled again by other people and other things in our ‘new lives’. The moment we see each other again if just happiness cause you get that little piece of home back.

Picture credits: Smalley Institute

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