You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

It happens every year around this time.

By now, I should be prepared for it, as it’s happened on a regular basis for the last 7 years; but, somehow, like the annual birthday card I forgot to send, it’s popped up again and caught me completely off-guard.

Another friend is saying goodbye to us. This chapter of her journey in our daily lives has come to a close, and she and her family are off next week to begin their next chapter.

I am so happy for them.

I am so sad for us.

One of the hardest things (for me) in this season of life has been the transition of friendships. I have no issues making friends; I love being around people, love hearing their stories, and love seeing the way they live their lives. I am energized just being around them. But, while that time is precious, I often find it leaves me with a longing for something more, something intimate. Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way that deep, long lasting friendships are not made overnight.

When we moved from Atlanta 7 years ago to begin our graduate journey, we left behind a bevy of friends that we considered family. We knew each other’s stories, had been in each other’s weddings, and lived life together for several years. The loss I felt from our move was so immense, I didn’t want to make new friends in the new city we had relocated to. So I didn’t, at least at first. Why on earth would I want to do that when I had such fabulous friends who already knew and loved me in a city 8 hours from where I sat? I regrettably adopted the “why bother?” attitude since I was sure we would only live there for 3, MAYBE 4 years. With another impending transition looming in the future, I decided that I would do this journey on my own; I didn’t need a community of new friends to walk this road with me. Needless to say, it only took a year and a half before I found myself on the couch of a therapist, woefully explaining to her why I thought my life totally sucked. I was lonely and lost, trying desperately to live outside my belief that humanity was created to be in community.

After admitting that I couldn’t do it on my own, I began to reach out to other women (some graduate wives, some not) through various outlets, and I can honestly say that when we moved from there 3 years later, we left some dear friends who remain part of our lives today. Since then, I’ve been given the chance to move to another city (in another country!) to start over again, all with a fresh perspective: it’s always better to walk the road with a friend, then walk the road alone. I don’t know if we’ll live in one place for 3 years or 30 years. But, I do know this: I have to live my life in the present. If I live in the past or in the future, constantly playing the ‘What If’ game and wishing I was somewhere else with someone else, I’ll not only miss out on what I believe is a pivotal part of my life’s growth process, but also some very special friendships in a difficult season of life. I know there is always a reason you cross paths with someone; the journeys are always connected.

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine.” ~Thomas Jefferson

In your graduate wife journey, what are you doing to foster friendship and community?

Mandy

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8 thoughts on “You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

  1. Mandy, I did the same thing. I didn’t want to make friends when we moved to San Diego because I knew we wouldn’t be there long. Five years later when we moved, I did not leave many friends behind. My view of our time in San Diego was tainted because of it. I started to do the same thing when we moved here. I thought since we’d only be here 9 months, why would I need friends. Thankfully I realized my mistake. I would much rather make friends and have fond memories than look back and regret the fact that I didn’t make friends. Thanks for the post.

  2. You’re so welcome! I often wonder what the rest of our time in Orlando would have been like if I had continued trying to do it alone. I shudder, actually, to think what would have happened. I’m so glad you decided to make friends here! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  3. I can very much relate to this post! It’s always harder to be the one “left behind” when friends leave, than to be the one who leaves, I think! I’m so glad I got right into a great community of friends here in England.

  4. Great post! So true! You just have to embrace each season, each term, each year and the people who are involved in your lives at that time! It is so transient, and while I am thankful for the people we have met, sometimes those deep roots will never meet our expectations of what friendship should look like.

  5. Getting involved with a great church straight away has made all the difference in thriving instead of surviving here. It’s seriously the best part about our life in Durham! I’m already sad about saying goodbye to some special people this summer, but like John Mayer says, “If you never stop when you wave goodbye/If you give it time you just might find/That you wave hello again/That’s the way this wheel keeps working, now.” :)

  6. Thanks for your words of truth Mandy- Seriously JUST what I needed to hear! After 4 moves in the last 2 years I ask myself “why bother” finding community even though we are now staying in the same place for the next 3-4 years! Just the kick I needed to start plugging in.

  7. Reading through all the posts and find myself tearing up again. . so much to relate to. It’s hard for me to make myself stop and think about what we have left. . . so I am just not at the moment, maybe one of these days. I’m sure it will catch up with me. Love you.

  8. Pingback: Welcome Back! | the graduate wife

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