Saying Goodbye

I’ve probably mentioned this before but I’m not very good at goodbyes. The words don’t tend to flow very easily, and so today I’ve been planning what I would like to say to my fellow two housemates who are the only people here at the moment.

It seems a useful twist of fortune has given me the opportunity to desert Hull without saying anything to the unhappy section of the Happy Couple, and so it means I won’t have to say goodbye to her. I can use the other half as a proxy, which is excellent.

But it is unreal to think about what’s happened in my life over the last 3.75 years. From September 2004 to May 2008 I have been engaged in this long drawn-out affair of moving house and moving around different parts of the country on an average of once every 12 weeks. That’s actually been quite turbulent, I think, and so it’s not really a surprise that I should be happy to see the end of that.

Hull has been good to me, which I am happy about. I was a bit concerned I wouldn’t like it here at first, but I quickly grew to realise that it’s actually quite friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere in most of the student areas is really good. But today I will leave for good. OK, I will undoubtedly come back for the odd day trip. A couple of my friends are going to stay here, and I have to come back for graduation in July anyway. But otherwise, this is the end of the road.

I find it easier to say goodbye to an abstract concept. “Hull” is an idea, a collective identity that is held in the minds of all the people who live within an artificially drawn boundary on the map. I find it much harder to say goodbye to people. And so, I will miss a lot of the great people I’ve met over the years. In the past academic year I have really got to know some of the people on my course, helped by the fact that I had no choice but to engage with them after my former housemate quit my degree course. It did actually come as a surprise to me that these were really nice people after all.

But we’re all going our separate ways. We have to, of course. Everyone has to move on. We all have our lives to lead, all off in different exciting directions to fulfil what we want to do with our lives. Well, most of us. Some still don’t know what they want to do with their lives.

It’s quite sad really for the people I’m really good friends with. In a strange way this is the end. Because up to now we know each other extremely well and live for and with each other. There are no greater memories than times spent with friends just laughing and joking. We had some after our meal the other night; it was fantastic and I made a note at the time to savour every moment.

But once we move away that’s basically it. We no longer figure in each other’s lives. Effectively we have to start from scratch all over again. And then the new friends come along and dislodge the old. It feels almost like a betrayal. But what else can you do? Life is all about connecting with new people.

So if you detect a certain somberness in this post you are spot on. That is what I’m feeling at the moment. And it’s entirely natural to.

I’m reminded of a song that always makes me shed a tear or two. It’s from the 1940s, and was a perfect tune for the time. The juxtaposing of two fabulously brilliant concepts – departure with an unknown return, and future, but uncertain, reunion filled with a hopeful optimism simply cannot be beaten in the following words:

We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day 

Its genius is in its simplicity. It implies an absolute certainty: we will meet again, but this is then contradicted by the words that follow, and then even more so by the hopelessly optimistic “know we’ll meet again”. How many times have we all used words in the same way to suggest that we just know we’ll do something we’ve always been planning to do? Used in a way to convince ourselves of the certainty of a certain event. And yet, sometimes, we never do it.

I hope that isn’t the case for me… but I just know that is yet another of those hopelessly optimistic statements.

Here’s to the next phase of my life.

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  1. 400 Up « A Grown Up Now. In Theory.

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