Throughout the past few months before leaving, we’ve both discovered that silence is seriously underrated: people seem to fear and resent it with such obstinacy that you’d think silence killed their family, friends and pets. But one thing is even more difficult for understand than the fear of silence: the crap that people sometimes use to fill it with.
When leaving your home for a long (loooong, possibly veeeery looooong) time, it feels natural, almost needed, that you try spending as much time as you can with the people you won’t get to see for quite a while, whether they’re family, friends or just close acquaintances. Maybe it’s out of guilt of “abandoning” them, maybe because it makes you feel like it will take longer for you to miss them, maybe simply cause you’re hoping that they’ll annoy you enough that you won’t ever want to see them again, thus making it easier on you; you don’t question why you do it, you just do it (we are in no way affiliated with Nike. Furthermore, I resent myself because I cannot hear those three words without instantly thinking of Nike. Or condoms. Go figure.).
At the point where you start meeting up with people, there are two possible situations: they already know that you’re leaving, or they’re about to find out. If you’re smart and you value your sanity, you’ll try going for the second one: it catches them by surprise, they don’t have time to think through all the things they were planning to do with you, all the things they needed your help with, all the advice and support they were expecting you to always provide and is now heartlessly being taken away from them (don’t frown, we love our friends, but if you want any chances at survival, you have to accept that even the teddy bear you sleep with might have some selfish reasons for being so damn cuddly). This way, the only questions you’ll have to fend off are the friendly ones, coming from polite interest rather than desperation and clinginess: “That’s so nice, where are you going? What are you going to do there? Oh, study? That’s nice, really brave! Figured out where you’re going to live? Well, good luck, I’m sure it’s going to turn out great. I’m so happy for you!”. You have to put up with that for roughly 10-15 minutes, and then you can continue your conversation as you normally would, passionately discussing the weather, politics, psychedelic drugs or whatever makes your fancy.
Advice #2 about sharing the information with other people: don’t use facebook/twitter for it. Really, don’t. Aside from it being a blatant defiance of the previous advice we gave you, it’s one of those actions you look back on and think “What the hell was I thinking?!”. People you haven’t talked to in ages will suddenly be very concerned about your health and future plans, and there’s always that one person that knows someone else who is relocating to the exact same place as you, and feels that it’s his or her responsibility to introduce you to each other “just so, you know, you can help each other out and stuff” (meaning that the newcomer will assault you with questions ranging from accommodation and living expenses, to convenient locations to buy underwear or condoms (what is it with me and condoms today?(OMG, it’s a bracket inside a bracket, inside a bracket… we went too deep!))).
And the last and most important advice either of us could give you is this: when you do meet up with someone and tell them that you’re leaving soon, have a clear, well-planned list of subjects to discuss with them. DO NOT, under ANY circumstance allow more than 2 minutes to pass without either of you saying anything. Remember that silence thing we were talking about earlier? Here’s why we dislike it so much: at the point where you reach silence their wheels will start spinning, the processing system will commence at full-power and you’ll end up putting up with a full assault of “but what will I do without you?!?” comments, while feeling the odd mix of guilt and fear build up in your body. Really, it’s a dreadful sight to witness, so avoid it at all cost.
This all probably sounds very harsh. Part of it actually is. Other parts are there just for amusement’s sake. But, all jokes aside, moving away from your family, friends and everything that’s familiar and dear to you is a scary process, borderlining on painful; you keep thinking of what’s to come with a mix of excitement and terror, but you look at all the things that you’re leaving behind and you can’t help feel the slightest twinge of regret. We know that our loved ones… well… love us, but love always has and always will be an essentially selfish sentiment; they can’t be blamed for expressing their distress for losing us (well, they can, but we love them, so we won’t), so instead, we choose to arm ourselves with all the proper tools to prevent them from getting a chance to.