On Goodbyes

New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.

Lao Tzu

My grandmother once told me, life is full of goodbyes. I was 24 at the time, devastated by the end of my 6 year relationship with the man whom I thought I’d spend my life. I had been crying for two weeks, barely sleeping or eating, and she said those words to me. My entire body denied them, screaming a silent no. How could that be? To me life is about creation and connections; I’m an engineer. I innovate. I put things together. I fix things. Here I was told what I interpreted as pretty much everyone leaves, everything dies, it’s inevitable. Her words, meant to comfort me, only made my outlook on life darker. Why build things if they only end? They say it’s better to love than not to have loved at all, but honestly why even bother? It seemed a waste of time. Sadly, that attitude shaded many of my life decisions for a long time.

I am reading a book written by a member of the #writingcommunity on Twitter. It’s titled “How to make sure your life doesn’t suck.” I’m only a few pages in, but her epiphany that drove her path to authenticity was that she was free to feel all the emotions that make us human. Joy. Sadness. Fear. Confidence. Love. The more we deny these feelings, particularly the bad, the longer they stay and manifest themselves. So, I think that what my grandmother was really saying when she said life is full of goodbyes was that although change is inevitable, it’s how we deal with our emotions of letting go, cherishing or accepting what was, what is, and then looking forward to what might be, is what matters most. Everything may change, things end, but that doesn’t mean they disappear. They are just transformed into something else. And sometimes, what is created is better than before. As an engineer, this makes my heart happy.

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