Last month was a bit more emotional than I expected. I knew all month I would be saying goodbye to an old friend, but as the day crept closer, I began to get more nostalgic. I have said goodbye many times in the past, I even consider myself to be, in some sense, a “professional” at saying goodbye after growing up in the military. There are many types of goodbyes. We all say goodbye to a certain stage of life. We say goodbye to our pets, friends, and family. We say goodbye to a roommate. We say goodbye to schools and campuses that helped to build us. We say goodbye to our childhood homes.
With each goodbye comes the undeniable feeling of loss, of course the impact may range in severity, but the feeling is still present, but with it also comes new opportunity. Opportunity for something equally as great, just different. Different is not bad. Different can even be amazing when given the chance!
Last month I took my ’96 RAV 4 (that I absolutely adored) to the junkyard. It was my first car, I learned how to drive in that car, that car took me to my dream job working at Disney World, it helped me make Florida my new home, so obviously I wore my favorite shirt to commemorate the occasion! (You can find your own “home” shirt at The Home T, they have several styles and every state!)
It took me to my first date with my husband, it helped me work through my fear of driving in the dark…and in the rain…and really just driving in general. I realize you may be reading this thinking “man, this girl is a bit materialistic.” And you know what? Maybe I am and sometimes I think that’s totally fine.
When we treasure something, it means we recognize it’s true value, not just face value. Size and cut are not what make our wedding rings the most beautiful, it’s the promises and commitment behind them that make us treasure them the most, our rings are a symbol.
That’s what this car is: a symbol, in some sense, of my growing up over the past 7 years. Moving away from home, getting over fears, chasing dreams, and finding new ones to follow. A change of address, moving away from my family and the beginning of my own home and family in Florida almost 7 years ago, a place that I am proud to call home and that my family from out of state considers to be their “second home.”
This event is what inspired me to finally write “strategies” down on paper. I feel as though it is the perfect time of year, too, with the end of school year quickly approaching. Students attending new schools, seniors graduating and moving off to college, families getting transferred to new jobs in new towns.
While there is no way to avoid that sinking feeling that goodbyes bring altogether, I do have three tips on how to face these “goodbyes” AND how to be excited about the things to come!
Remember You Never Have to Say Goodbye to Memories
Saying goodbye does not mean we get rid of the memories, those will always stay with us. We remember how certain people and events make us feel which is so so important! One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever got was at a family member’s funeral. To be honest, I am not even sure who said it to me, it was such a devastating whirlwind of a day, but they said “hold on tight to all of your good memories.” At the time when I felt so much pain, loss, and sadness, I distinctly remember wanting to roll my eyes thinking I couldn’t possibly ever think of him again without feeling such a deep sadness. But I do, I think of him often, and I smile big.
“Hold On Tight To All Of Your Good Memories”
I wish I knew who this person was because I have kept that in mind all through my life and have used it countless times. We can’t prevent loss, we can’t control the universe, but we do have some control on how we move forward. And holding on to our best and dearest memories can bring pure joy and magic to our lives.
Always, Always Look to the Future
Before we get started I want to fully acknowledge that the following quote is a cliche, but it is true. “When one door closes, another one opens.” I have to give my parents, particularly my mom, full credit for teaching this to us early. We would spend a couple years at one post, feel pressure to make friends quickly, make an unfamiliar house feel like home, get used to a new school, join new teams, and then move again right as we found our groove.
As an adult typing this lifestyle out it sounds harder to me than it ever felt as a kid. And that is because of my parents. I remember being sad that I was leaving my best friend behind, but my parents made sure to get us excited for the new place we would call home: the new adventures we would go on, the new families we would meet. And we HAVE gone on some adventures and my sister and I have “second families” in every region of the United States and a couple overseas. They were never wrong and their influence has stuck. (In fact, some of my civilian friends probably thought I was a bit callous with how excited I was to move sometimes.
What did you learn?
All relationships teach us something whether it is something we wanted to learn or not. Our experiences always allow us to walk away with new knowledge and make us who we are. It is important to never lose sight of those important, and sometimes tough lessons we learn pave the way for an amazing future. Breaking up with a partner can be devastating, BUT, the relationship itself helps us know what qualities we really want in a partner and even the ones we don’t want. Similar to choosing our friends!
If you focus on what you take away from an experience and not just the goodbye, it can at times really help to alleviate the overwhelming, and sometimes even numbing feeling of loss. During emotional periods, it is not always second nature to take a look at the big picture, and sometimes in the moment, it is impossible…because humans… (and also hormones….just saying) But a day will come when you will see it wasn’t “All for nothing.”
This topic is one that hits close to home for me. Giving up my old car was, admittedly, partially behind the inspiration to finally putting pen to paper on this topic, BUT, is something I thought many could relate to, particularly with the last day of school approaching quickly. Many will be changing schools this summer, some are graduating, others are moving away from home for the first time this summer. Several families are awaiting moving vans, kids are curious about what their new room and school will look like, others will watch a new family move into their best friend’s house.
Goodbyes and change are inevitable. It can absolutely be sad at first, but so much good can come from change, too! Excitement and happiness do not stay away for long, always take advantage of new opportunities. Keep your memories close to heart and always look to the future!
I want to know how YOU deal with change. Are you facing any big changes this coming summer?
*** Note: the Florida “Home” shirt I am wearing in the photos can be found at The Home T. They offer several styles in every state. These shirts are insanely soft, seriously, I wear mine 3 times a week and it holds up BEAUTIFULLY. These shirts are made in the USA (LOVE) AND they donate a portion of their profits to multiple sclerosis research. Get yours HERE!