February 28, 2016

So Long, Farewell—My Unusual Hobby.

goodbye, scrabble game

I need to confess something.

I tried to write my Elephant Academy assignment about my hobby, but the words just did not flow. I couldn’t think of a single hobby of mine that could be interesting enough for an entire article.

It was only as I bade farewell to a dear friend that I realized it: I had made a frequent hobby of saying goodbyes.

Goodbye is not merely something that we say, but something that we actively do. If we are to consider it as something that we do, and something that we partake in regularly, can it become a hobby?

I believe it can.

I am a restless soul. I am a nomad traveller who is frequently blown by the winds of change towards another destination, another land in which to lay my heart.

As a result, I am familiar with the concept of bidding adieu. Yet, how often is it that I actually consider the goodbyes that come before the remarkable adventure that awaits me? How often are we all too quick to utter our closing words, without genuinely contemplating what we’re doing?

I don’t know about you, but I fear I do not bear it a second thought.

If we are to argue that the exchanging of farewells can be a hobby, which I believe I am, we must then consider the implications of doing so.

Do we enjoy saying goodbye? Do we look forward to it? Can it entertain and provide us with a sense of fulfillment?

Let’s consider:

We may enjoy goodbyes if we are the ones eagerly anticipating our next step; but we may detest them if we are the stationary comfort-seeker bidding farewell to a friend. We may enjoy goodbye if it is only temporary; but could equally loathe a permanent one.

Where do we draw the line? How do we know when saying goodbye transitions from a pleasurable pastime, to an everyday escapism? And if it is a hobby, and consequently frequent, is it automatically a negative thing?

How often do we say goodbye? Daily? Rarely? And to whom do we say goodbye? 

Frequent goodbyes are said to our colleagues as we leave work for home, the evening bus driver as the doors close and our children as we kiss them goodnight and wish them sweet dreams. Less frequent goodbyes come as we leave our friends for an around the world vacation, move towns as we leave our homes, or permanently, as our loved ones leave us forever.

My farewells were rarely overthought, seldom dwelled upon and only occasionally drawn out. Does this make me a bad person?

Sorry Julie Andrews, but goodbyes aren’t always the time for a song.

But perhaps Rodgers and Hammerstein were correct when they wrote “So Long, Farewell.” If we are joyous, content and authentic when we say goodbye, maybe the matter of “so long” can be, well, a sing-a-long.

Technically yes, goodbye can be a hobby. However, if we are to make it a commonplace activity then our parting remarks should be loving and present, kind but calm, and most important of all, genuine. If our goodbyes adhere to all of the above criteria, then we needn’t fear turning something stereotypically dramatic into a fun and legitimate hobby.

If we were to place more emphasis on saying goodbye, maybe we would truly appreciate the people we were bidding farewell to.

Perhaps Maria von Trapp was wise when she had the children sing goodbye. But I think another poetic character, known by the name of Pooh, says it better:

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Maybe I do have an interesting hobby after all.

Relephant Read:

Goodbye Will Always Be The Most Painful Word


Author: Katie Gard

Assistant Editor: Kathy Baum / Editor: Sara Kärpänen

Image: Sharon Sinclair / EKG Technician Salary Flickr 

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Katie Gard