I’ve never really been good at good-byes.
I’ve also never really figured out what is so good about byes.
I know deep in my heart that the reason I don’t like saying good-bye is because I didn’t get the chance to say good-bye to my mum before she died. And since then, I’ve avoided them.
Even at parties, especially the really busy ones, I just up and leave. I hate the rigmarole of going round the room, making gestures over the loud music that I’m going. I don’t like making a fuss. I prefer to just go, to slip away. Leaving like this is easy. I don’t have to deal with other people’s requests for me to stay, you see. Which, really is probably why my mum didn’t say good-bye either, you know, before she blew the candle out. She didn’t want to have to deal with other people hoping she’d stay. But who knows. I’ll never know.
The thing is, not saying good-bye can be a really shitty thing to do. It creates confusion for other people, and for yourself, and there’s never really an end to things. Not saying good-bye just leaves a space – like a room with the door left open – an whisper of uncertainty collecting like leaves in the corners.
Laura and I said good-bye yesterday, to Write This Run, a project we created two years ago that brought together some of the most incredible I’ve ever met. We’d been discussing saying good-bye for quite some time, but we didn’t know quite how to say it and whether we really wanted to. So we hung on for while wondering what to do next.
I’m not sure hanging on is always the best thing to do though. Hanging on to things that we’re not as passionate about or committed to anymore holds us back from doing the things that we are passionate about and committed to. Which is pretty obvious, really. And yet we all do it don’t we? We hang on.
To the relationship or the job or the fitness routine that we don’t really enjoy. To the idea or the thought or the disagreement that never really resolved. To the dog that is on its last legs and in pain, or the city that no longer lights us up, or the box under your bed gathering dust. To the past, or the story, or that thing you never said.
We hang on because we don’t like saying good-bye.
Good-byes create space. For (uncomfortable) emotions and new things (that scare us) and change (that we like to avoid – because change is fucking terrifying).
And yet uncomfortable emotions and new things and change is exactly where all the good stuff grows.
Maybe that’s why byes are good?