How are you supposed to say goodbye? After 23 years how can any kind of cordial gesture sum up everything you would ideally like to say to a friend or family member before leaving for good. There were a lot of goodbyes said over the course of the last few weeks. Some were handshakes, some were extended hugs, and others were nothing less than slobber filled cry fests. Some never happened. Maybe because they are still too fresh on me, but in each one I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in myself. Each time, I could’ve said something else; I could’ve told them how much they mean to me. Each time I failed.
I guess it can either be attributed to the fact that I didn’t want to lose myself to my emotions. In my own attempt at manhood I wanted to keep it together. Or just the fact that giving in to a huge drawn out goodbye solidifies it in my mind that I may not come back. Maybe I’m in denial.
I look around and see lots of families walking around, kids and parents, grandparents, cousins and uncles, all traveling…together. I can’t help but feel guilty. I left mine behind. I wonder when I made it up in my mind that that would be okay to do. I don’t like to fancy myself someone who would put my career before my family, yet here I am, boarding a plane to fly to the other side of the world. It feels selfish. It feels self-centered.
Who are we if not our experiences, values, and dreams? Which adds more value to your family and friends’ lives; a shell of yourself in the same room, or the best version of you far away? With things like Facebook, Facetime, Snapchat etc. it’s not hard to stay in touch from a distance. Whether it is 500 or 5000 miles away, what is the real difference?
To achieve something really great, most likely you’ll have to do something that others aren’t willing to do. That includes giving up time in your comfort zone. It sure isn’t comfortable moving to another country. It won’t be comfortable missing family holidays like Thanksgiving and Easter. But there is an end goal. I get a chance to be a pioneer. I can learn about new cultures and countries, and hopefully some of that can permeate to my family and friends. Where once they never thought about travelling, maybe they now take a trip overseas to visit? Little by little the world becomes smaller for everyone, while the possibilities become more abundant.