I hate goodbyes. Hate.Them. Not a fan. Nope, not at all. And before you say, oh you can just think of it as – see you later, until next time… whatever. It is still saying goodbye.
When I say goodbye to you I never expect to see you again. I know that I have the memory of you to take with me on my journey, but that I will probably never physically see or talk to you again.
This feeling rears its ugly anxiety-filled head when I say goodbye to people at the airport, the train station, or when we part ways after drinks. It is by far worse when I am leaving that particular city to take off on my next adventure. I’m talking full-on panic attacks where my heart is racing, I have a hard time breathing, and I act a bit needy.
I always want one last kiss goodbye, one last hug, one last everything, one last taco at my favorite place, one last whatever. Always.
In a quest to understand my quarks I’ve been thinking a lot about this one lately. Where does it stem from? Is there a way to overcome it? Like most things that inhibit us as adults, it began in childhood. I can recall two reasons why I have a fear of abandonment, and this issue with saying goodbye is a part of abandonment for me.
I saw this and thought it might be good to have to help me through the sadness I feel when I say goodbye
First, when I was really young, my parents divorced. From two years old I went to many different homes including both of my parents, grandparents, family, and even friends. There were times when I was with my mom and she couldn’t take care of us and we stayed with family. I always wondered when I would see my mother again. She had a wanderer’s spirit that was hard for a young child to understand. You can read more about that story in this post: Turn The Page: the day that changed my world.
When I was in school, we moved around a lot. Like every few months. A lot. I didn’t go to one school for an entire school year until I was in 7th grade. That is a lot of goodbyes. I became that kid that would come into school and try to make friends and then turn around and have to say goodbye again just as you learned how to spell my name correctly. Most people can remember their teachers’ names and even the schools they went to, but I can’t.
Then there were the times when I would go to the new school and put up a wall around me so I wouldn’t make new friends. Who wants to make new friends and have to walk out of their lives? I was done with that.
So that became my identity. I was the Queen of Saying Goodbye. After six months I knew I would be gone and you wouldn’t remember my name or anything about me.
Six months. That is an interesting timeframe. Now at 41 I have this issue with my female friendships in particular. We will become fast friends (remember, I am good at this part), then around the six-month mark of our friendship I will push you away. I will become a bitch, I might say or do stupid shit, it is always something that happens unconsciously.
My best friend and former business partner identified it in our mid-30s. She started to recognize the pattern with new women brought into our friendship circle. Now, those of you that know me, know I try really hard not to be mean to people or be bitchy. Sometimes though, I am. And a really big one at that.
I try to warn new friends that this might happen. If you give me a couple weeks, it will pass. Like I said, I honestly have no idea when I start to do it. So… let me apologize to anyone this has happened to and to anyone that witnesses it from here on out. I’m sorry.
With romantic relationships it shows itself in a different manner. I always want one last kiss when we say goodnight – whether at the door or in bed. I also need to communicate in some way every day so I know you are still there. I bet it comes off needy to some guys. In some ways, I guess it is.
The other reason I have a huge problem with goodbyes is twofold as well. First, the obvious is not being able to say goodbye to those I have lost, like my mom. The other stems from this journey and the constant meeting of new people and the inevitable saying goodbye to them. So many people come into my life that I honestly lose track of people’s names and stories after awhile. That’s sad to me. I don’t want to forget, but my brain has to make room for the next batch of newbies to come in.
I find it ironic that I am full-time traveling where I have to say goodbye to people almost daily. I live quite an anonymous life in real life… few very people know me or my story, and only a handful have ever seen the real me. When I find those that see me, it is very hard for me to let them go. Extremely, excruciatingly hard to say goodbye.
You never know what tomorrow will bring. No one knows how much time we have left. Next time you say goodbye to someone, make sure they know how you feel about them. Don’t leave words unsaid.
As a travel blogger though, saying goodbye is part of what I signed up for. So think about that for a minute – did I set myself up to feel this way everyday? When traveling, I really, honestly, never expect to see you again, so the anxiety cycle happens all the time.
Next time you see me, just remember that at the end of our time together, if I seem a bit needy and need one more hug, that there are years of shit built up behind that anxiety-riddled self-confident woman standing in front of you mustering just how to say goodbye this time.
Landing in Anchorage… the land of the Midnight Sun. || 12:05 am