Life, when you look at it, is pretty much a sequence of goodbyes. We say goodbye when relationships end, when people move away, when changing jobs, and when someone passes - often without notice. These things all happen pretty frequently so it's probably worth getting good at saying goodbye.
Another thing that's worth doing is getting plenty of hellos. Our Aunty, who turned 100 earlier this year, is full of life yet the longer she lives the more goodbyes she must inevitably make. What's her secret? I believe it's the hellos. Aunty still performs, playing piano at nursing homes for many much younger residents, providing her with a constant stream of hellos. Meeting new people, making friends with some but not all of them. She also has an ever increasing number of great grand children, and she knows them all.
Being too settled can make us think we can't say goodbye, just one more reason for avoiding change in our lives. But the saying when one door closes another opens applies to many situations, provided you're looking towards the new door not back at the closed one. Leaving an old job can sound scary, but starting a new job is exciting. Saying farewell to colleagues, family or friends feels sad, but meeting a whole new group of people is interesting. Being the one who stays, when someone else leaves is often more difficult than leaving and a strong support network, built through hellos, can really help.
Changing neighbourhoods can also feel quite daunting, and you don't always want to become instant best friends with your neighbours. But there are plenty of other people in the community you can connect with – at the local shops, the library, the gym or swimming centre. It doesn't take long to become a familiar face and begin to enjoy that sense of recognition again.
But the unexpected goodbyes, the sudden departure of a loved one, these are the most difficult. There's no warning, no chance to say how much they mean to you, to give them one last hug. However preparing for these offers you the most opportunity.
For those people you assume will always be there, that you sometimes take for granted, there will come a goodbye. That's just how life is, so consider that they next time you see them. Make the most of your time with them, be fully present (not distracted on your phone or by problems), tell them what you like or love about them. Make sure they know now how you feel and it's not left until you're farewelling them, lest you part without them knowing. After all, you don't know which one of you will be going first.
So make today a day that matters. Make some new hellos, or reach out to someone you already know and let them know how much they mean before it's time to say goodbye.
This Beatles clips can be a good reminder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rblYSKz_VnI