I went to a farewell dinner last week. I only just met him at the start of the year, and a few months later, it was already time to say goodbye. The new normal these days.
It wasn’t quite the case back in the safe bubble of my homeland. The sameness, the confidence you find in the familiar, the phone numbers you’ve memorized. The day I left with a couple of small luggage and a freshly renewed passport in tow, I knew I drove a wedge between old and new, but it has since proven to have separated the before and after in more ways than I expected.
Roots have given way to wings, but making new friends grounds you and calms the “new kid on the block” anxiety that chews on your insides. Depending on your situation, you’ll likely gravitate towards fellow transients. You cling to them like a barnacle clings to rocks. The ease builds every day, and you slowly, sometimes without realizing it, build a new safe zone. But just when you thought you’re settling in, it comes and pulls the rug from under you. They announce their departure, quit their jobs, pack their bags, and you’d go to more than one of their farewells. Because you’re clingy and sad, and it’s hard to say goodbye. Friends forever, right? (Thank you, social media.)
From a young age, friends have been the kid next door, your classmates, your cousins, your parents’ friends’ kids. And for some strange reason, you always counted on them to be around. Now you know it always isn’t the case.
At the risk of sounding like One Tree Hill’s Peyton Sawyer, people leave, and as one of those who left, chances are you’d find yourself among the transitory flock. They come; they stay for a while. And when they leave, you’ll be going to a farewell for the nth time and wishing them the best in all sincerity, partly because you know you’d want the same for yourself if and when you choose to spread your wings once more. If you do decide to nest, there’d still never be a shortage of cause to celebrate. Someone will always need a proper sendoff. Someone will always come and need a reassuring welcome.