If there’s any consensus surrounding the act of saying goodbye, it's that it's not usually an easy thing to do.
I’ve never been particularly good at it, but then again, who is?
We all suffer through goodbyes, after all.
Parting ways with someone or multiple people, be it for a definite or an indefinite amount of time, is a universal experience.
So, it’s actually pretty interesting to think about what goes into these goodbyes.
There’s no disputing that when we hug someone we're close to and say goodbye to him or her, it's difficult and often emotional.
That being said, I came to the conclusion that perhaps the hours and minutes leading up to the actual goodbye — the ones comprising the final meetup — are almost worse than the goodbye itself.
Whether it's the last meal you'll have with a friend before he or she moves to a new city, the last time you grab a coffee with your brother before he moves out of state or the last movie night you have with your significant other before you start a new job somewhere far away, these meetups are especially trying times.
Here are the things that make the “lead-up” hours and minutes arguably more difficult than the actual moment we say goodbye:
1. Everything that leads up to seeing him or her again.
Now, I know I just referred to these hours and minutes as lead-ups to goodbyes, but there are many difficult and emotionally exhausting things that lead up to these moments, too.
When we're planning a final meet up with someone before parting ways with him or her, it's necessary to, well, plan stuff.
Whether it’s making a reservation at a restaurant where you’ll share one more meal, confirming what time you’ll meet at a certain place or deciding what you’ll wear, the planning that goes into organizing those last meetups can be emotional and taxing.
As a side effect of said planning, we have the heartbreaking realization we’ll soon be forming some final memories with people we care about.
A lot of emotions build up during that time, and they make you think about the goodbye that comes at the end of the get-together you're planning.
2. The reminders of him or her.
When we're in the midst of one last get-together with someone before saying goodbye, it’s all too easy to be bombarded with internal reminders about how much fun we have with said person, and the fact we won’t see him or her for awhile, if ever again.
We remember how much we enjoy this person’s company, and it’s difficult to be reminded a goodbye is quickly approaching.
During the hours and minutes that lead up to a goodbye, these reminders eat away at us.
They're the main reason goodbyes are so hard, and they make the time leading up to these goodbyes even more emotional.
3. The voice in the back of your mind you can't seem to silence.
When I know I’ll be saying goodbye to someone in a short matter of time, there’s this little voice in the back of my mind I can’t seem to silence.
It’s the voice that says, “This is the last meal I’ll have with this person for an unforeseeable amount of time,” “This is the last time I’ll laugh with this person for a long time,” etc.
You're painfully aware of the fact you only got together because you will soon be parting ways.
You have so much time to think while you’re eating that last meal, drinking that last coffee or taking one last walk around the park.
The little voice that keeps telling you, you won’t find yourself in this exact situation for quite some time is the reason why this part of goodbyes is the one I find most difficult.
Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg (and cheers to new beginnings).
Thanks to genius Gen-Y minds, there are multiple social media outlets we can use to keep in touch with our loved ones after our emotional goodbyes.
That being said, there’s a good chance the remedy for offsetting these goodbyes lies in being happy for ourselves and others as we part ways.
Hopefully, we'll all go down paths that will ultimately serve us well.
To make goodbyes and the even more difficult lead-ups to them easier, we might just have to think about what follows: new beginnings.