It may sound cliche, but I’m reminded more and more often these days that the older I get, the less I know. Conversely, however, I also have noticed that as my age climbs, so does my appreciation for the people and blessings in my life.
Recently, I had to say goodbye to a dear friend, who moved back to her home state of New Jersey to be with family after her husband completed his military service. As I struggled through our tear-filled farewell moment, it dawned on me that goodbyes never get easier. In fact, they seem to be tougher to deal with now than when I was young, which, to me, is strange because it’s easy to assume that you get accustomed to certain feelings the more often you encounter them.
Having spent more than a decade working as a journalist in four different states, I’m happy to say I have friends all over the map. Sadly, though, I’ve been through more than my fair share of sorrowful farewells.
After sending my friend on her way, I couldn’t help but wonder why every goodbye I face is more agonizing than the one before it. It dawned on me suddenly that it’s because people mean more to me now than they did 10 or 15 years ago. Sure, it was tough to part ways with my college friends, but our sadness was tinged with excitement about our journeys. We were certain we’d see each other again, so there was no reason to cry.
My mistaken belief that we’d all meet again is what made those goodbyes easy. We were all sure we knew exactly how our lives would go and, obviously, those paths would include visits with each other.
Many years have passed now and I realize how little I know. Life throws us curve balls and, despite our best intentions, we lose track of people. I certainly don’t intend to let that happen with my friend who just settled back in the Garden State, but just acknowledging that I have no idea what life has in store for either of us makes me appreciate her friendship that much more. It also made it that much more difficult to watch her go.