CambodiaMe

Goodbyes Are Hard

I'm not sure I understood how complex it would be. I mean, I knew that it would be emotional, but I don't think I've ever really had to say goodbye to anyone or anything to really know.

A month ago, we said goodbye to our house and most of our belongings. Last week I finally said goodbye to my job. Both of these instances were very clean cut. A date was set to hand over the keys, and it was done.

But now, in this week between our goodbyes and getting on the plane, it all seems less clean cut.

I'm not quite sure what I am feeling. Part of this is due to an expectation, real or imagined, that I am meant to be feeling a certain way. But I don't know what that is either.

Goodbyes in the age of social media are an interesting phenomena. Events and moments that were between two people are now photographed, published, liked, and tagged. These moments become public moments, and contribute to how you are viewed by others. Why do my goodbyes need to be shared? A goodbye is about letting go and moving on. By sharing and posting there is this attachment and clinging. Just because you feel the need to post about it, doesn't make your goodbye any more dramatic and moving than my own.

Part of me wants to just go now. Run with this flood of energy, turn around, and just leave. It's too drawn out waiting here until Thursday.

But I haven't said goodbye to my parents yet. Maybe this feeling is wrapped in anticipation for that farewell too.

I also realise that part of this goodbye is about saying goodbye to myself. I'm not naive enough to think that I have been the same person for the last ten years. Of course I've been in a constant state of change and evolution. But usually it's slow, made up of incremental changes. Taking this leap to another country has been the culmination of hundreds of decisions, but actually getting on that plane is going to mark the start of a great change.

This was the me I knew in 2012. Photo © Lee Nutter.

For Lee too, we are about to say goodbye to the us that we know. The Australia Us, the Sydney Us, the Us where I work in a preschool and pole dance in my spare time. The Us where Lee works from home, makes websites, take photographs. The Cambodia Us will have elements of these things, but will also be entirely new.

Perhaps in hindsight I won't find much difference between the old me and the new me. The old Us and the new Us. But right now it's the hardest goodbye to make.


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