I went to see Emily King at the Loft in Midtown for my birthday a couple weeks ago. As always, I enjoyed her show. She's developed such a great stage presence over the years, and for anyone who hasn't heard of her, I thoroughly recommend checking out her original EP, East Side Story, on SoundCloud. One of the things she talked about in between songs was the idea of saying goodbye and what that means for her, and right there, mid-track, I caught myself thinking about how hard goodbyes really are for me.

Like, really, really hard... and no amount of "closure" can make it any less difficult. Of course it hurts when someone I love passes away, but I think that's a hurt everyone feels very deeply, in their own way, and that's not the kind of goodbye I'm talking about today. This post is about those voluntary last goodbyes. The kind of goodbyes that come of your own choosing.

Here's a little background info about yours truly: I've always been a naturally friendly person. As a kid, I would consistently get in trouble for talking too much, and even though I'm not the type to initiate conversations with strangers, I'll happily engage if I'm on the receiving end. I'm still in contact with many friends from grade school, despite the fact that I don't have a Facebook account, and even though I don't talk to each person I care about on a regular basis, I'm still quick to send a "hey, hope all is well" text to check in. 

When I love you, in any capacity, you know it. You feel it. And it's not that I'm making a conscious effort to make you realize I care, I just have an inclination to express it in one way or another. I am never the life of the party, and I don't have that gravitational pull some people have that just draws you to their presence in a crowded room. I am, however, the friend you see at the party, hug and do a quick catch up with, then make plans to do a proper one-on-one catch up with later that week. I much prefer to nurture my relationships in more intimate, smaller settings.

Let's do lunch.
Let's grab coffee.
Let's go shopping.
Let's walk our dogs on a Saturday afternoon at a gorgeous park around town.

I feel like those moments, when its just you and another person (or even a handful of other people), are much better at fostering relationships of any kind: friendly, familial, romantic, professional, etc. Quality time is clearly one of my love languages, in case you couldn't tell ;). Add enough of those quality moments together, and I'm bound to feel connected on some level. 

The problem is when I've had too many of those moments with someone who was only supposed to be in my life for a season, or someone who had no business in my life, in any capacity. That's when things get tough for me, because eventually it'll be time to say goodbye, for good. Sometimes it takes a while to realize a relationship is temporary, toxic, or one-sided. My discernment in this area has gotten better over the years, but it took some practice.

Generally speaking, if I've already carved out this spot for you in my heart, that spot will still be there long after you leave my life. So when your birthday rolls around, I'll definitely think about calling, and when that doofy movie you love comes on TV next year, I'll wonder how you're doing, and when I'm cleaning out the contacts and message history in my phone, I'll have a difficult time deciding whether or not to leave or delete your info. 

I still love all the people I've ever loved, even if I'd cross the street to avoid them. 

That's likely why I've only ever had two boyfriends (one of which I'm now married to). I went on dates, socialized, and mingled, but I rarely carved out time for emotional intimacy because I didn't want to deal with saying goodbye later! Hashtag avoid your problems. Hashtag mama was a rolling stone.

... allllllllll this is what I caught myself thinking about in the middle of a wonderful concert, and honestly, shouldn't good music evoke these kinds of reflections about life?