Amongst the many lessons that I picked up during my growing years, the one that I hold the closest to me is about last conversations. We all know that there is wisdom in the words — Never leave home in anger or sleep over a fight. The thought of what if this was our last conversation troubles me. It’s not about pessimism, but practicality. But then, I am not referring to the conversations we make on the deathbed, but the ones we leave incomplete because of lack of time, egos that need a massage, mere indifference, et al.
Each time life has its way over us, it takes us in different reactions. A couple of weeks ago, it took an acquaintance and me on different paths. We may never meet up again or even exchange a message — all that would remain with us about each other would be the last words we shared. It makes me wonder, isn’t it then important to remember one another with fondness? If it were a business transaction, we’d close the deal. Why not then do the same in a personal interaction? Why not say goodbye? Why not look back at the time we shared and wish each other luck for the future?
There are friends, with whom you can pick a conversation from where you left it last. A schoolmate, who you never saw after a farewell. A roommate, who made your days in the hostel worthwhile. A neighbour, with whom you went out for evening strolls. But then there are people we come across, with whom we share no special relationship or association, yet we share a certain period of our lives together. These may be colleagues, friends of friends we meet at a party or even an interviewer, who gives us the bad news that we didn’t get the job. It’s last conversations with these contacts that should also matter to us.
Detaching well is as important as a healthy goodbye. As adults, we are always on the run, detaching from people, places and positions. We let go of something, perhaps each day. We change jobs, neighbourhoods, and career paths. We hang out with friends who matter, and we network, with those who we think matter. We switch habits, cars, and mobiles. And in the middle of all this, we forget to close the loop. We move on, too swiftly. We chase goals and set our eyes on the future. We devalue the past, yesterday.
As you read this, think of the people, you left behind in a hurry. If you were to get a chance, would you have something to say to them? Perhaps, a single appreciate word about your time together? Or laugh at an argument you had? Or exchange that one glance or nod, which suggests the closing of the chapter.
Growing apart is essential to life, work, and play. Think of your life as a road trip where you’re constantly meeting fellow travellers, just as you are leaving them behind too. We don’t necessarily hug each of the travellers or see eye-to-eye either, but we can always acknowledge the presence of the other. Drifting apart and disconnect need not be as impassive. Do yourself a favour allow yourself to experience the regrets and relationships, and mistakes and milestones, before you move on and ahead. Here’s to all the people, I’ve met and will meet in the future — We fared well, together.