THROUGH THE FIRE: Ways to Say Goodbye

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By Mari Nakano
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This year seems to be winding to a close just as fast as it began. Though it is an end to an intense year, it marks the beginning of a new life away from Los Angeles for me. I’m heading east and saying goodbye to over a decade in LA. Most everything I own has been sold. As much as packing and moving has been cleansing, it has also been somewhat emotional. Many of the objects of my memories are gone, off somewhere in rummage sale land. Although it has been a little sad to watch my house be emptied by Craigslisters, there is nothing more I will miss than the community I’ve had the privilege with which to grow in the decade I’ve been in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a significant place in that it marks a period in life where I went from being an immature kid to having to be a practicing adult with a Masters degree and a husband. I’ve been through a lot in this place. I’ve faced my lowest and highest moments here, losing a few loved ones but gaining new passions along the way. L.A. didn’t unleash me without a few rough punches towards the end, but I suppose it wouldn’t be L.A. if it just let me float off to another place with ease. Although I’ll still continue to write for the Rafu via New York, I still wanted to take this time to say goodbye and thanks to Los Angeles and especially to the Little Tokyo community. Because this isn’t a forum for personal farewells, I decided to write about what I’ve learned about good-byes and leaving.

A rummage sale goodbye party is great. Give away your favorite things to your friends who you trust will take care of your memories and make a little cash on the side while you’re at it!
Do your best not to cry and give lots of hugs so people don’t have to see your face in case you get teary-eyed.
When saying goodbye, always remember it’s not all about you leaving. Share the moment equally.
Dining with loved ones is always a great way to bid your farewells.
Talk as if you are going on a trip, and always be sure to invite others to join you on your new endeavors. Who knows, you might recruit a good friend or two to come with you.
Sometimes leaving allows you to see what’s worth holding on to.
When waving goodbye, wave until you can’t see the other person anymore.
When departing, find encouragement in the opportunity to be given something new for which to live.
Technology is great in that it doesn’t make good-byes so hard. Big thumbs up to planes, cell phones, e-mail and video chatting. It is not to be taken for granted, however. The comfort of a real person can never be replaced.
Even if you don’t like the person, always part ways with positive energy and good wishes.
A good thing about parting ways is knowing that you will have the chance to experience the great feeling of reunification.
Good-byes don’t always have to be said aloud.
Never say, “Goodbye.” Just say, “I’ll be back soon.”
Thirteen good-byes could be bad luck, so why not even it out at 15.
Life is about parting and reconnecting, about uncertainty and the pursuit for discovery. If we didn’t have good-byes, how could we change and learn to love the life we have?
So, with that, I’m off! Peace out and see you all soon. I’m a little nervous to go, but nonetheless excited to see what life has in store. Hopefully my life in New York will bring new reflections and ideas to my writings, and hopefully my writing will also get better along the way. I’ll do my best to continue my pursuit for happiness. Be good and keep the light on for me!

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The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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