I'm only in my 20s, but I've already had more people walk out of my life than I can count on both hands. Whether it was my “best friend forever” from high school, my first college boyfriend who I thought I might marry or the summer fling that could never last, people left.
Sometimes, they left without saying goodbye.
I've said goodbye to people too, though. I've cut people out of my life without giving them a reason.
I've broken up with countless boyfriends. I've stopped talking to guys I had “things” with by just not answering their texts anymore.
We say goodbye to people every single day, whether it's an “I'll probably see you later today” or an “I'll see you next Christmas.”
Sometimes, it's easy. Other times, it's not.
Sometimes, we don't even notice it's happening until it's one month later and we realize we haven't sent our "best friend" a text since the end of the school year.
Some relationships drift apart slowly and dissolve into nothing. Others simply end abruptly. It doesn't matter whether they're on good terms or not.
But no matter how the goodbye happens, we should feel lucky we had to say such hard goodbyes in the first place.
Yes, they usually leave me wrapped up in a furry blanket like a burrito spoon, feeding myself Ben & Jerry's straight out of the carton. They end with an entire box of tissues, used and crumpled on my floor.
They end with “I miss you so much” text messages, no matter whether drunk or sober. They end with justifying a bottle of wine, a personal day and the right to complain to friends for the entire week.
But those people – the ones who leave us to sob while masochistically watching “The Last Song” – are the people who matter the most in our lives. They're the ones who held us tightly until we fell asleep.
They're the ones who stayed up late at night just to hear our voice on the other end of the phone. They're the ones who made us smile whenever they came around. They're the ones who made us feel.
They're the ones who proved to us passion and love are real emotions, and not just made-up things in Nicholas Sparks novels.
The hardest goodbyes are the best goodbyes. They set the standard for all other future friendships or relationships. They make us re-evaluate current relationships and cut out toxic people from our lives.
They make us realize our worth, and the type of love we all deserve. They crush our hearts and make us wish we'd never met them in the first place. But they leave behind the happiest memories.
So many people shy away from relationships or close friendships because they fear the pain of loss. They fear the moment they're left alone with that ice cream container and broken heart.
They fall into friends with benefits to hide from the real feelings that could lead to hurt. They shy away from creating true friendships, and build up walls that are impossible to tear down.
They don't let people get close enough to leave behind painful goodbyes. But they don't realize the invaluable experiences and lessons that come from losing such strong relationships.
No one wants to lose love, but we should be lucky enough to feel it in the first place. Don't be afraid of crippling goodbyes that leave you wearing your ex's t-shirt to bed or Googling plane tickets across the country to visit your best friend. Don't be afraid to meet people who can change your life.
Welcome the fact that you were lucky enough to have met someone who makes you feel his or her absence.