I Said Goodbye Today

I said goodbye today.

I also told a lie: “See you again someday,” I said.

Which is bullshit. If you’ve ever left an organization before — you’ll soon realize that your colleagues and you really don’t have that much in common. That perhaps the only thing holding those relationships together was a shared interest: your monthly paycheck.

Personal estimate: you’ll fall out of touch with 90% of your ex-colleagues within a few months. You’ll keep in touch with 9% via a WhatsApp group. And you’ll only consistently see 1% of them ever again.

I said goodbye today to my regular Monday night basketball game. After nine years of playing in the same court; watching people come and go. From my perspective, I was the only constant.

In a weird way, I had all the moments from the past nine years show up in just a couple of games. It was as if my pickup basketball career was flashing before my eyes. The star players were there tonight — and we pulled off some nice wins together. I had a few blocks, some highlight moments, and a game-winning shot that I’ll cherish.

If that sounds too good to be true, I’m sorry. Writers have a way of dramatizing trivial things. So I’ll tell you about the bad stuff too: I missed easy shots and lost control of the ball; I got frustrated with newbie teammates and walked off the court in a huff; I lost some games. I think I finished the night 3-2 — a representation of my record at this arena. I’ll remember winning more than I lost here. But by just a little.

The end came too soon. But I didn’t even say goodbye to everyone. Just to a few. Guess I was too emotional.

In two weeks’ time I’ll go through it again — say goodbye to my current colleagues. We’ll reminisce about old times, shake hands, and wipe tears away. Then we’ll move on with our lives, as our paths diverge.

It always feels strange — seeing the same group of people for years, and then suddenly never meeting them again. For me, it’s happened four times now: when I started high school, university, and work. And the only other time when I resigned.

That was seven years ago.

Sometimes I try to make an effort into rekindling old relationships. Last year, one of my new year’s resolutions was to make contact with a relative/friend once a week. I think I did okay. But every person I met, we parted with the same hopeful lie: “let’s meet more.” Yes, we were sincere — but reality kicked our butts. Science proves it too. Research has shown that you can probably maintain only five intimate friends, and fifteen close friends.

A few weeks ago, I read Tim Urban’s wonderful article about how we’re at the tail end of most of our relationships. That with most of our loved ones — we don’t have much time together left. Here’s an example — have you estimated the number of times you have left to hang out with your parents? If you’re around 30 and stay apart from them (like me), I’m guessing that number is below 100.

Everyone says goodbye everyday — they just don’t know it.

But if you’re a melancholic like me, you realize life is really a series of mini-goodbyes.

Who knows when’s the last time you’ll meet someone. It could be a lifelong friendship that ends on the deathbed. It could be twenty years from now. It could be today.

I think it’s important to realize how precious our time with each other really is. To never let the important ones drift away. To love them while we still can. But to also be kind to those who are just crossing our paths for a while; then graciously bid them goodbye.

I said goodbye today, and you’ll say yours.

Nobody defeats Father Time. Like the seasons, people come and go. And we know that this time, any time could be the last.

I just really wish that we didn’t have to part; that time would stand still and we could enjoy our time together forever. I wish, and I hope.

So I’ll tell another lie:

See you again.



Pic at Unsplash.

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  • Your article is very well written. I just quit my job too after 5 years of working there. It is my first job after graduating. I have grown so close with everyone and I know I’m going to miss them and the good times. I have been so depressed since I tendered my resignation letter, crying before and after, every single day, when I wake up and before I go to sleep. My eyes are so sore from all the crying. It’s like going through a breakup with someone you fell in love with. I wonder whether I’ll ever be able to get over this. But your article helped me realize that goodbyes are inevitable. Thanks.

    • Hi Shobana,

      Thanks for writing in and sharing how you feel. Things will never be the same again once you leave. The good news is that things can get better — and you’ll discover who your true friends are. All the best ahead!

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