The Art of Leaving

By Devin Riggs, Regular ContributorAugust 3, 2015

I’ve never left a place without wishing I could stay. I fall in love with towns. I fall in love with scenery. I fall in love with people on the street. I fall in love with the person I am in that place, wishing it could always be that way.

In order to grow and become better, we cannot stay put all our lives.

We have to leave the places we know like the back of our hand. We have to leave the people we love. We have to leave the routines we have relaxed into. We have to push out of our comfort zones and try our hand at the unknown. It’s a scary prospect, one that I am currently facing as I will soon move to a new town with new people and new scenery for my new grown-up job.

It means I have to say goodbye.


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I hate goodbyes. They hurt. They burn. They scream. They whimper. And I almost always cry. And by almost, I mean definitely. I definitely cry.

Goodbyes are the worst. And I don’t state that absolute lightly. Goodbyes, even temporary ones, break my heart.

To make up for my leaving, I make promises. I go out of my way to make everyone feel better about this sucky situation. I promise I’ll visit often; it’s only a few hours drive. I promise it won’t be so bad. I promise I’ll call. We won’t drift apart. We won’t lose touch. I promise. I promise. I promise.

I don’t want them to hurt. I don’t want them to think I’m abandoning them. I’m so worried about how everyone else is taking this huge change that I’ve hardly sat down to face the fact that I’m the one leaving. I’m the one who will be gone. The one who will actually be alone in a strange new place—all on my own for the very first time.

And while I’m excited about this new life stage and adventure, I’m also terrified.

No matter how many promises I make, or how determined I am to keep them, sometimes they just break. We get busy. We get lazy. We get tired. We get forgetful. It happens, even with the best of intentions.

So how do you say goodbye?

There is an art to leaving, an art to making promises even knowing some might crack. And, an art to forgiving those fractures.

Goodbyes can be funny. They can be joyous. They can be inspiring. Goodbyes can be hellos, how are yous, I love yous, I miss yous. Goodbyes in all their ugliness can be beautiful.

Leaving is hard. So is being left. Honestly it sucks. I’m not looking forward to any part of this, but I’ve realized—having to say goodbye to you reminds me how lucky I was to have said hello. And that means more to me than you can ever know.

Let's chat!

How are you at saying goodbye? Have you ever had to leave a place you loved? How did you handle it? Tell us below!

About Devin

DEVIN_RIGGS_writer_bio_(1).jpgDevin has a degree in education with a focus in English. She is working to publish her first collection of poetry while also learning the art of patience. Her passions include Doctor Who, penguins, hats and scarves, potatoes, dancing, photography, and making people happy. She believes in the healing powers of music, spending time in the great outdoors, and a good night sleep.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.


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  • commented 2015-08-03 13:30:37 -0700
    I moved all of my life due to my fathers Job. I always hated leaving the friends, people, and places but loved the next place and places the same way. Always been a rolling stone and am very appreciative of the life I have been blessed to live. The one thing my parents did give me was a way to independence and I have continued in that pursuit.
  • followed this page 2015-07-29 06:13:47 -0700

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