The Lessons of Goodbye

Taking leave of the familiar is frightening because, let’s face it, we are creatures of habit. Routine gives us structure, which gives us meaning and a sense of safety. So when we have to say goodbye to what we know to embark on what we do not, it is often accompanied by a feeling of deep terror.

Saying goodbye can be very healthy though. As we enter a new year, we are saying goodbye to the old one. The flip of the calendar means we have progressed. So with every ending is a new beginning; with every goodbye is a new hello.

When a pet dies or a friend grows beyond the existing relationship, we experience loss. It is normal. No one likes to lose things — or people for that matter. It requires adjustment and an acceptance we may not be ready to embrace.

Sometimes we outgrow the friends we have and need to expand our circle to find news ones that are more suitable to our current life situation.

My mother told me once that people enter your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I am blessed to have quite a few lifetime friends whose amazing resilience and agility inspire me time and again. But then there are those people, like harbingers in the night, that enter your life space for a little while – to teach you things you might not otherwise have known. They might gift you experiences, good or bad, to make you the deeper, richer person you are now.

They glide into your life and may bring you joy, sorrow or a mixture of the two. You know your relationship won’t last forever, but you are glad to have known the person just the same.

Those people prove that hello is another form of goodbye to what you used to believe until they show you a different way altogether.

Loss makes us grow closer to the human experience. It actually enriches our ability to feel. And while those feelings might sting, they remind us as well that we are alive. A numb life may be safer, but what fun we’d miss if we opted for that!

There is never a “once upon a time” without a “the end” too. And with every happy (or not so happy) ending follows a new chapter in our lives – full of possibility, experiences and the potential for unmatchable joy.

I am willing to live life fully and to say goodbye to what doesn’t work to make room for what does.

It’s a journey well worth taking.


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