In the week leading up to my move, it felt like I was being hit by an image left and right. At least once each day, I would turn my head and catch a pair of people hugging, longingly and sadly. Some were couples, some were friends, and in none of the situations did I ever get more of the story than the image itself. I wonder if maybe I was extra aware of it because in a matter of days, it was going to be me trapped in that hug, or if maybe it was just one of life’s many symbols being waved in my face.
Following this, I went on to have my own succession of hugs. I felt I had been spoiled by the people in my life. I was thrown a surprise party, was given presents and cards and meaningful moments. I had private goodbyes and group goodbyes. But the more I found myself saying goodbye, the less I actually started to believe it.
It felt like I began to read off a script, saying the same things to different people, for lack of a better way of expressing it. It's not that these people meant less to me, or that I wasn't honest in what I said, I think I'm just pretty rotten at goodbyes.
An obvious reason was because I didn't want to say goodbye to anyone. I even stuck to my mantra of none of the goodbyes actually being a goodbye, but rather a see you later. That's something that's become evident in my life thus far. The last time I moved, from Canada to Copenhagen, I said goodbye to people. But most of these people I've seen ended up seeing again, often completely by chance. So most of the times, I am actually going to see you later. Sometimes much later, but still, later.
So how do you actually say goodbye to someone? And how do you make it meaningful?
I guess one way for me to do it is to write about it. So here it is:
I've spent around three years in a very special city. I came here alone but already had three good friends there, being Sam, Liam and Wilma. Liam and Wilma surprised me at the airport and while I had doubts about moving here, this effort on their behalf just reminded me I wasn't going to be alone.
Copenhagen has welcomed me every day since then. I started my new job at Tivoli and met people that over the course of the years turned into my work family. On a double panto night over panto kitchen coffee, over parties, parties and more parties, over dressing room girl chats. The job we do is something so special and within it we all have a bond and I'm so lucky to have been a part of that.
Then I had my friends outside my job. My Sam, Liam and Wilma. And the ones that came along through them. All creative and wonderful people and a lot of who were expats just like myself. People that I'd call in my free time. People I could be lazy with or adventurous with. People who I have created such exciting memories with. People who have been a huge part of my Copenhagen experience.
And now, in my last year, while strengthening the bonds with all the people above, I decided I needed more stimulation. I threw myself out there into a world very foreign to me and found other jobs. I think it's fair to say I challenged myself but was rewarded but meeting even more really cool people. People that I've only known for short periods of time but have made really exceptional bonds and memories with. And people very much outside of the "ballet-bubble" that I've grown up in. Making these people who I've learned the most from. In aspects of life that I had not known much about before.
So now I have this grande collection of people of my life in Copenhagen and what am I supposed to do? Say goodbye to them all? I can't do that. I can't stop friendships just like that. And maybe it's my fault. Maybe I've let these people into my life too easily, frankly because I think they're all really cool. I've built this network here in Copenhagen that has completed who I am as an individual. But that's what makes it even harder to say goodbye.
However, if I knew that from the start, I would have held back. I would have not let myself enjoy what's been the best three years of my life so far.
So, I hope this makes it clear, to each and every one of you. If any of my goodbyes seemed forced, they probably were. But it didn't change the fact that I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart, and the confidence that I will see you later.