#20 Hard Goodbyes

The fall is here. The weather has shifted. The sun is without its normal punch which in California, is welcomed on the account of the blistering heat waves of the summer. I pulled up to the West Oakland Bart station, our last stop before heading to San Francisco.

My fiancé, with whom I take the BART with every day, is rested on my shoulder in attempts to salvage what little sleep we can afford due to our debilitating work schedules. People may say millennials complain, but what they fail to see, especially in tech, is that learning 20+ different things every day, and to never use them again is akin to traveling to India and looking at the Taj Mahal for a few seconds and then going back home. No time to contemplate, to learn, or to become good at one’s craft… but I digress. 

At the West Oakland station, I see an older Mexican man about to head to work, or perhaps he was coming home from work. It really doesn’t matter. The station is outside and not a cloud in the sky, which ushered in the Friday morning gracefully. He’s eating a burrito. I laugh at the irony. He has on a sturdy plaid shirt with different patterns of brown, washed jeans that have seen their days, a cowboy hat, and is holding on to his construction belt tight. I wonder why he works, who he supports, what he will do this weekend, what’s his story? There is so much I want to know about this world, so many books to read, so many experiences to have, so many times that I will miss the chance to say I love you, but I’ve made peace with all these sentiments long ago. However, I still think about them. 

What has made me more purposeful in my decisions as of late is knowing that I don’t have that long. I will be 35 years old in a few months. More than one-third of my life has gone. If I am lucky, I got 50-60 years left. Human existence in comparison to the cosmos, is all but a fraction of a blink of an eye. In the words of Steve Jobs, “We are already naked.” There is more urgency in life because every day we are saying our goodbyes in little fragments. I guess death is the final goodbye unless someone can prove the string theory

Isn’t that what life really is, a series of goodbyes? It’s an interesting concept when you think about it. Whether it’s with family and friends we move away from, co-workers that move on, or those close that pass away, it’s simply a series of goodbyes. It’s all too familiar and bittersweet. All of us had to say goodbye to someone at some time. As I grow older and hopefully wiser, the relationships are smaller, more intimate, and so the goodbyes are harder. It’s harder to talk about meaningless current events because today’s news will be replaced by something else. I don’t care to be as informed now. I’m more lost, but more centered on what I want these days. I am moving to another state soon. California was nice and will always have a place in my heart, but it’s time to see a new vista on this cataclysmic, burning rock that is spinning at 1000 mph. 

For you, maybe today’s goodbye can be a calling to enjoy the good old times. Maybe knowing about the goodbyes can be a rude awakening to get up and work on a passion project or maybe it will urge you to talk to your loved one and tell them how much you love them. Remember this moment right here will never return, so get moving!

I have lots more to say but for now, goodbye. 

With Love,

Anand Swamy

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