I just watched the Parks and Recreation episode where Ann & Chris move to Michigan (click on link for episode). I was unprepared that these two characters were leaving the show for good! For some reason, I thought that they were going to change their minds and their proposed departures were just a temporary plot twist.
Anyway, I found myself sad that they were leaving, and I realized that I hadn’t really conducted proper goodbyes when I moved to Kansas from Oregon. I started thinking about closure and ending friendships, and I think now there were several factors adversely affecting my transition:
1) Most friends defriended me first.
I had recently gotten married and some of my “close” friends were upset that I had gotten married at all. They wanted me to remain their wingman. So they ended the friendship on those grounds. There might have been time for reconciliation if I’d stayed in Oregon but moving away killed those options.
2) Our move was sudden.
On a cognitive level I had plenty of time to understand that we were planning to move, but the logistics of moving 1500 miles took only three weeks. Looking back, this was not enough time to adequately say goodbye to my parents and friends, sort through belongings, and mentally prepare for a major life change. I don’t think three weeks is adequate time for closure.
3) I didn’t want my employer to know I was leaving.
In retrospect, I am sure there could have been a better way to handle this, but at the time, I was angry with my boss for laying off my husband (we worked for the same office) and I was retaliating by not giving ample leeway of my imminent departure. Since I didn’t want my boss to know I was moving away, I didn’t tell any coworkers either, so I wasn’t able to say goodbye to my friends at work. This proved to be a devastating mistake since I ruined chances to stay in touch with them as well as creating a sudden hole in my social network. I went from having lots of buddies to having no one overnight. Very lonely, for sure.
I encourage you to read this post by the Modern Nomad. It was helpful for me to sort through feelings since I’ve moved a lot too, so this probably contributes to my bad behavior of not properly saying goodbye to lots of people over the years, for many reasons. Saying Goodbye | The Modern Nomad.
One thing I have learned and have already improved upon is conducting a proper goodbye at work. I need to make sure to say goodbye adequately to non-work friends also.