Crying is not a weakness, nor does it mean I’m unhappy. At least that’s what I try to tell myself every time I find the tears welling up and streaming down my face as I say goodbye to someone.
I have no explanation for how terrible I am at goodbyes. It makes no sense to me at all. My life is all about goodbyes and constant change. I’m an adventurous, independent, solo traveler. Not just a solo traveler – but a solo person. I’ve been single and living on my own far away from family for my whole adult life. I’m not lying when I say I love being on my own, having an independent life and doing what I want to do whenever I want. I get stressed out when I have to be with others for too long and I don’t get my alone time. Yet the act of saying goodbye to anyone who I’ve been surrounded by for a while makes my throat tighten, my heart ache, my lips purse, and my eyes sting with tears.
How can I drive a car to Mongolia, live solo in Vietnam, circle the globe multiple times; yet I can’t say goodbye to my niece at the airport without crying. She’s my niece…not my child…my niece. But I’ve grown attached to her for the last 11 days. I felt responsible for her. She was a fabulous, mature travel companion who made me laugh and I was oozing pride that she was so bright, funny, and strong. But that doesn’t explain tears and the deep rooted sorrow I feel.
Even though the tears seem to happen most often with family (even if they are driving me crazy and I am ready to leave), they also happen with friends, lovers, and new acquaintances. I even remember a distinct time this last year being excited for someone to leave and be on my own again, yet when they walked out the door I collapsed in tears.
Why do I suck at goodbye? Why does being alone again make me so deeply sad and emotional; even though I long for that solo life most days?
It must be something to do with ending chapters in my life. Every time I travel with someone or stay with someone I consider it another chapter in my life. A definitive moment that I will recall one day in my old age; “remember that time when Evie came to New York City when she was 15 years old… “. Even though I live in a constant state of flex and uncertainty, I must be terrified to start the next chapter. Is the next chapter going to be the last?
Maybe it’s frustration. I know just how hard it is to be on my own; it’s hard work to do everything for yourself, no one to lean on or draw good vibes from. You have to find your own happiness. So maybe I’m simply sad about being back on my own and having to adjust to doing everything on my own again.
Maybe I’m just feeling the sting of living in the present. I’m simply in the moment, deeply feeling the emotions of the moment. Leaving and change are emotional no matter who you are.
Maybe I miss the security of having someone around me.
Maybe I feel vulnerable and exposed being on my own again.
Maybe deep down I’m lonely and I’m dying to find someone I can spend my life and experiences with.
Whatever the reason, it always makes me reflect and maybe that’s simply what my heart and mind is looking for. After about an hour of sorrow, I push it back, wipe my eyes, quiet my mind, and push it to the back again until the next goodbye.
How do you deal with good-byes? Please share in the comments.