Saying farewell to one chapter and beginning a new one: we know what we are leaving behind but do not yet know what we are gaining. To experience the pain of letting go alongside the thrill of the adventure ahead is a bittersweet journey. Throughout the process of my move from California to Oregon, I endured a wide spectrum of emotions. My goal was to be present for all of it (whatever it was) even if I had to sit through varying levels of discomfort. And I don’t know which feeling was more uncomfortable… The fear of disappointing others? The pain of distancing from my community? Or, the joy from an outpouring of love I received from friends and family?
Initially, I noticed I was protecting myself from the pain of saying goodbye with statements such as,” I’ll be back to visit a lot.” And, “It won’t really be that different.” I felt too anxious to acknowledge the reality of what I was losing – my life will not be the same and I won’t see these special people nearly as often. I decided to intentionally refrain from making the protective statements and, instead, allowed myself to feel the pain of my own loss as well as allow others to experience their loss and disappointment at the same time.
Moreover, there is nothing like a farewell to bring out those sentiments we rarely verbalize or write down but powerfully convey the meaning others represent in our lives. While a part of me resisted the “goodbye” rituals organized by family and friends, by forcing myself to lean into them, I was blown away by such an authentic, pure expression of shared love. I was left wondering whether the pinnacle of our well-being is just knowing we have meant something to someone.
And so, I can say my move was simultaneously filled with sorrow and joy. Kahlil Gibran describes this phenomenon so well in The Prophet:
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.