There is an art to saying goodbye. Mostly, it involves a lot of pretending, false pretexts, and burring of emotions – none of which I enjoy but all which I’m great at. I spent my last many days back at UNC simply sleeping, eating, exercising and talking to people. I could not have asked for a better week. Literally everything I did reminded me what exactly I have to return to. Sure, nothing will ever be exactly the same, but it will still be remarkable. This is why all goodbyes must be masked with the saying “see you soon.”
I realized towards the end of last semester that what I am seeking in this new adventure – change, getting out of my comfort zone, a new challenge – is exactly what I will be missing the most. I have just begun to appreciate what comfort means and what home is. This past semester I learned the joy of having a group of people who understand me in such a way that we can just sit for hours on end, talk about nothing or catch up on life, and either way have our conversation mean much more because of the history we share and knowledge we have of each other. I began to understand the necessity of time alone and realized it is not a weakness but a necessary part of growth. I accepted that spontaneity and adventure come in many forms. I discovered that comfort zones exist for a reason.
For the first time I can remember I don’t feel uncomfortable in this somewhat stagnate lifestyle, and yet I’m actively choosing to leave it. This past semester was one of the most fulfilling ones I have had, both personally and externally. I didn’t fully understand just how perfect it was, however, until I started to leave. Back in December, once the craze of exams were over and everyone was starting to pack their bags and hit the road, it hit me. A chord was struck, plucked, and broken. These were the people that mattered most to me and I was leaving them.
So, naturally, when I came back to Chapel Hill I hosted one more brunch for all my friends before I left. When I get a group of great people in a room together I have no option but to feed them. The room was flooded with more love than the walls could contain. I was beaming. Although it is nearly impossible to get everyone together in one place, over the course of last semester these meals got us as close as we can get. Most importantly, this meal was no different than any other. No one was there for me, but I got to give everyone one more hug.
I left this week with no other thought than “I am so lucky. I have the best friends in the world.” We know how to have fun on every level. We care deeply about each other to the point where I can ask about their sibling’s latest adventure or parent’s new job. We have created a culture where “life chats” are a thing. No matter how bad we are at keeping in touch, despite today’s technology, we can pick up without separation or time as a barrier.
And so we say “see you soon.” Time is irrelevant. Soon is an arbitrary term. I know that I will see all of these faces again, and when we do the conversation will be just as meaningful and the food just as good. In the meantime, they are all wish me safe travels and provide departing advice:
“Just do everything. I can’t wait to hear about it.”
Duly noted. I’ll see you all soon.