… see you later?

We’re always told “it’s never goodbye, it’s see you later.”

Stanford Class of 2009
Stanford Class of 2009

But as the Stanford Class of 2009 is about to graduate on Sunday, I can’t help but think it really is goodbye. And there isn’t one single good thing about goodbyes. They’re painful, sad, and usually, final.

We all hail from cities all over the country, even the world, and that horrible evil monster (distance) places a ginormous wedge in the heart of friendships, rendering friendship upkeep incredibly difficult, almost impossible.

How am I supposed to keep in touch with my friend who has decided to live in D.C.? the phone? What about the international kids who are going to return to their respective countries? Skype?

I asked my Dad how many people he still keeps in touch with from college and he said “one.” ONE? You expect me to pick ONE friend and realize that in all probability, he/she will be the only one I still keep in touch with 30 years from now?

Geography makes it virtually impossible to really preserve these friendships.

But since when have really true, great friendships actually been easy? Even when we’re together at Stanford, with all our busy schedules, I have to really work to maintain my friendships. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own little universes, overloaded with academics, overflowing with extracurriculars, but in the end, my friends are so worth that extra effort to make a phonecall, or send an updated email message. And if friendships were that easy to maintain, I guess we’d never realize the distinction between the acquaintances and the ultra special friends, the ones worth that extra effort. This “friendship upkeep” isn’t some rigid, robotic formula. If you love them, this love will naturally drive you to keep in touch.

And this is what I have to remind myself everytime I start retreating in a little self-pity party about how I’m never gonna see my friends or speak to them again. In this new technology era, there are tons of avenues and media that afford us the opportunity to continue friendships too amazing to abandon. It’s totally possible. Distance ain’t nothin’ but a number.

So I guess the “proverb” was right. It really isn’t goodbye if I don’t want it to be. Class of ’09, I’ll be seeing you later.

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