As I prepare to move next weekend, I’ve had to say a lot of goodbyes. It started with my dentist (the same one I’ve had since I was six) and my hairdresser, next came my former co-workers, and then I’ll be saying goodbye to friends all week. I don’t think anyone particularly likes goodbyes, and I especially suck at them, so that part has been less than enjoyable. When you’re about to end one chapter and start another, it can be easy to focus more heavily on the people, places, and things that you’re leaving behind. Even in my situation where I know I’ll be coming home regularly, I keep thinking “This is the last time I’ll eat at this restaurant as a resident of Syracuse.” I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so sad and anxious, and then I realized it’s because I’ve been spending all this time thinking about what I’m leaving behind and how this is the LAST whatever it may be that I haven’t been focusing enough on all the firsts I’ll get to have.
Of course leaving a place where you’re comfortable and settled isn’t exactly easy or relaxing, but it’s the only way to experience all of the exciting new things that a change of location brings. Finding a new favorite restaurant, discovering a pretty little park near your apartment, stumbling upon the perfect coffee shop to get some work done on a Sunday. That stuff only happens when you pick up and move on. For every goodbye I’ll have to say, I’ll also get to see something new and find a new favorite thing.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re graduating, leaving a new job, or moving like I am, it’s important to focus less on the goodbyes and more on the new starts. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be sad, but it’s necessary to balance those bittersweet emotions with feelings of excitement about what’s still to come.