We had a going away party last night. Friends from all areas of our lives came to wish us well on this next adventure as a family. This morning, one of my dearest friends stopped by, and I gave her a hug goodbye—the last for several months.
About a month ago, I said goodbye to my sister, who came to our hometown with her husband and daughter. We don’t get to see each other often—just a few times a year—but the goodbye that time was especially tough since I won’t see her for at least another year, if not longer.
Why the goodbyes? Well, we’re moving to Thailand in three days.
Three days. Three. Yes, three. And while I’m wholly unprepared for the changes that are about to happen in our lives, the biggest weight I carry right now is saying goodbye to the people and places I love.
You see, I am fulfilled by community and place. The people I spend my life with hold deep meaning for me, and while yes, we will be back, it’s hard to say goodbye for now.
Every person I see, every place I go, holds weight: Will I see this person again? Will I come here again?
And then there is my elderly aunt, a woman who is like a grandmother to me and who I have grown up with, who I very well may not see again. Her frailty reminds me that our choice to leave is a decision of adventure over time with the people we love. Sometimes I wonder: is it worth it?
It seems like an impossible choice, doesn’t it? See the world, live and breathe adventure, shake up our lives in a real way . . . or stay, and get to spend time with my closest friends, family, and colleagues.
I love my people. I also love being out there. I crave the freshness of travel, the intrigue of disruption, the rawness of living in a place that is foreign and new. It awakens my creativity and resilience, challenges my worldview, and reminds me of the privilege I take for granted every day.
But even so, saying goodbye is hard. I’m not a crier, but I’ve shed several tears in the past weeks, with many more to go. This, to me, is a reminder of the juxtaposition of excitement and loss. It is a loss of moments with people I love, of being a part of building a stronger Boise community through close relationships and volunteer work. Of attending the monthly groups I’ve been a part of for many years. Of running in the foothills. Of my beloved Boise summers.
This is the hard part—saying goodbye. It’s a process, not a word. But if history repeats itself, the pain will strengthen the relationships I’ve invested in and draw me closer to the people I love.
If you’re one of those people, I’ll miss you. And if you’re feeling similar contradictions inside yourself—a tug of war between seeing the big, wide world and staying in place—I’m here to tell you as a somewhat veteran of leaving it all behind in search for adventure (and as a note to myself when I’m feeling especially uncertain):
It’s worth it. The people you leave temporarily will be there with open arms when you return. You will come back better and braver. You will develop greater empathy and a world view that can’t be cultivated by standing in place.
Here’s to courage, adventure, and hard goodbyes. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.