Monday, March 15, 2010


Departure is commonplace in everybody’s life. The older we get, the more custom to it we should be. Nevertheless, unless we are able to completely detach ourselves emotionally when departure happens, we can’t help to have certain feeling towards it.

The ultimate departure in our life is gotta be ‘death’. Regarding this topic, I think I did blog that before. I’m not gonna repeat myself here unless I’ve new view on this topic. Beside death, departure has no exception but either people leave us or we leave them behind. Usually, the former occurs more often around us unless we only know one people in my life. That’s purely based on probability. The latter doesn’t occur very often; sometime it may not happen at all. In fact, there are people that I know who stay in the same place since their births. So, they only have experience of people leaving them.

With that many years of life experience, I’ve experienced pretty much most (not all) kinds of departure. Certainly, the departures that had happened to me and surrounding me are not as dramatic as those like being legally deported or illegally smuggled out, or escaping from war/crisis, that sort of things. Speaking of my ‘mild’departure experience, I do have few words to share with others.

For being left behind – we have so many encounters in our life that departure actually happens all the time around us. Surely, what matter to us are those people that we care about. Even for that, further breakdowns can be done that could deduce very different feelings. Firstly, things make a big difference on whether we know the departure beforehand or as an after fact from the time perspective of the last meeting with that person. For example, that may lead to whether we have or don’t have farewell party or more dramatic emotional outpour in the encounter. For further breakdown, it also depends on whether the departure is known to the departed one before our last meeting or not. He/ she may know that he/she is going to leave, but doesn’t want to tell anyone. Or, he/she may have a casual meeting with you before he/she learned that he/she gotta leave. Certainly, the type of departure here I’m talking about are those like emigration, studying/working aboard, that sorts of lengthy separation, not going for a tourist resort for two weeks. Furthermore, if death involves, e.g. if the departed person has fatal illness, emotion could be jacked up exponentially among folks involved.

However, there are other types of departures for being left behind that also happens a lot, but we don’t really think about that too much. Obviously, that’s not something make us cry easily, at least that had never made me. What I’m talking about are those ‘subtle’ departures that always happen as after thoughts and we don’t realize it until we are reminded. For example, we may have next door neighbors that moved out, even within the same city, but for some reasons, we just didn’t keep in touch and have never seen each other again for decades if not more. We don’t know if the neighbors’ whereabouts or whatsoever. When we think about it, he/she just left naturally, logically, and seamlessly. We just accept that as a matter of modern life. However, we may still retain some flashes of memory about encounters with the neighbors whether they are good or bad. Similar cases also happen to graduation from schools of different grades¸ or resignations of coworkers at your workplace, etc. Those people may still be around in the same big city that we are living in. Nonetheless, as we all have our busy or routine lives, our paths just have not crossed with those departed anymore. If not for any wedding, reunion, funeral, or being reported on the news, we may not see each other again. It could be a sad thought if you really think about it. Meanwhile, it is also a natural part of being matured.

To leave others behind – Certainly, to relocate your life to have a new start somewhere else geographically doesn’t happen to everyone. I had that experience and I’ve never regret for a moment. Yes, looking back, I had occasionally been asked the ‘what if’ questions. What if I had stayed? What would happen to my life if I didn’t make the move? Well, that is an ‘opportunity cost’ question. Since we cannot go back to choose differently, we will never know the answer. So, for me, since I do find my departure experience irreplaceable and valuable, I just don’t care too much about the ‘what if’ questions. I remember a movie that I found quite interesting back then (still now), the movie is ‘Sliding Door’ which portraits the two paths of life by playing out with a simple daily incident of ‘able to catch or miss’ a train ride, the different results ended up changed the married life of the character. Certainly, it is a movie, but I don’t see life would be very different. So, how can I answer what my life would be if I didn’t leave, let alone leaving my birth place for an extended period of time!

I can’t speak for others but myself. I find that the feeling of leaving others is better than being left behind. Don’t get me wrong here that I’m not applying that to love relationship. Readers can certainly interpret what they want. I’m just talking about a geographical relocation to have a new start of life. Cos, for being left behind, the person who has a new start is the departed person, not us. We will most likely still live the same place, go the same school, work at the same place, etc. It is neither good nor bad. The only difference is a person that you know/care will no longer be in your livelihood.

On the contrary, for being the departed person, once you override your sadness of leaving all behind to a new place, what’s ahead of us is a new beginning. The more miserable and unpromising the behind is, the more exciting and fresh the beginning will be. The unknown could be viewed as a worriness as well as excitement. Regardless, able to get to know the unknown is a challenge. I don’t wanna exaggerate the new beginning as a ‘rebirth’, but to some extents, I did find that as a new chapter of life that was be full of promises. Especially when I was young, I did feel that my life was finally coming to be in my grip. There was new hope as I flipped a new chapter of my life in the uncharterred territory. So, my feeling of departure wasn’t bad by most means. However, different departures at different point of time in life would post different concern and generate different feelings. It all depends. One thing that I think would not change is that each departure regardless its kind is a lesson of life itself. We will always learn something by living through it. It is always better to have a positive attitude to face it, even though it may not be very good or even worse than before. Rather than spending time missing the past, holding on the forgone feeling that you can’t grab, if we have no alternative but have to face the future, we better look at the bright side than just staying passive and get ‘smack’ by it like hitting tide of waves.

Just some thoughts that I wanna share.

1 comment:

ToM 少 said...