In the past week, two friends of mine left the UK to return back to their countries. Not that I was there as I had previously myself moved cities and couldn’t make my way back up. I have now lived in so many different places, and saying ‘goodbye’ becomes something so natural, that I don’t even stop to think about the implementations. I’ve become desensitised, if you will. Perhaps it’s because I am looking forward. When I look backwards I do feel sad. But it is important not to dwell.
It’s also interesting to think about it from two sides – the person leaving and the person staying. The person staying is often more away of the ‘goodbye’ that the person leaving – after all, their situation hasn’t changed. But the person leaving is going off to a new adventure. And maybe therein lies the difference. The person leaving can focus on the future, but the person staying has to find a replacement somehow. And then there’s also the case of whether the person leaving is heading off to something good or something less pleasant.
I met a girl once, travelling, who was so nice. We spent some weeks travelling together on and off. She took a detour at one point to visit some family in the Caribbean. Next thing I notice on facebook is that she passed away in a car crash. I was shocked, sure. But did it change anything? Not really.
Social media today allows you to keep informed about what people are doing miles away very easily. The need to say goodbye is less urgent, because you can still be ‘involved’ in that other person’s life. But it also makes people lazy, and the amount of quality contact, even with those ‘close’ friends, is greatly reduced. If anything, I find this one of the easiest ways to deal with goodbyes, but at the same time, one of the hardest, as it is a constant reminder of what you said goodbye to.
This week I decided to set myself a photo project to conceptualise different types of ‘goodbye’.