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The Peculiar Goodbye


My family has most recently moved states and it has been a whirlwind of experiences and emotions. The stress of moving is often associated at the top of the life stressor charts only to be preceded by loss of a loved one and divorce, or so says everyone who my husband and I shared our “moving” news with.

I get it, the whole idea of moving is a loss of many things if you are firmly planted in the community your moving away from. My family was only partially planted for a few reasons. We had the only house with children on our block, which was isolating in a way, but I admit that most of our neighbors naturally seemed to keep to themselves. We also happened to have the stereotypical overbearing neighbors who enjoyed sharing print outs of property lines and explaining to our guest the best way to park curbside (seriously?). We also had some nice couples near by but not enough in common to really build a solid ultra “neighborly” relationship.

I felt a little more planted in the neighborhood from my escapades volunteering with my neighborhood association and vending at the neighborhood farmers market. But we were ready for a new start and a new batch of opportunities so we forged ahead to move our children 2 and 5, businesses, grad school, preschool, and life to a bigger city.

My husband noticed the more we discussed our plan to move with strangers, family, friends and acquaintances the more we were able to spot the elusive and peculiar goodbye. Haven’t you heard of the peculiar goodbye? Well after hashing my way through several of them I can tell you what they look and feel like and why you must prepare for them.


The peculiar goodbye can strike on any occasion where life change is happening or has happened. It can show up at a promotion, a change in career, a move, a yard sale, a diet, a discontinued TV series and so on. For the purpose of a move the peculiar goodbyes I often heard was; “your moving to blank, it’s dangerous there”, “ I’m so sad your moving”, “It’s so expensive there”, and the ultimate punch in the stomach “you can always come back home if things don’t work out”. These are the general talking points that would occur conversation after conversation about our move out of state.

What’s wrong with them? Well, I find these statements to generally be empty in value for the recipient. Sure, the folks who say these things mean well and have only the best intentions by saying these things but for the person receiving these messages, it’s just pulp (new age curse word). What is to be done with a reminder of someone else’s anxiety regarding the journey they are not actually taking? Nothing, and if you are not clear on your motives the repetition of fear can cause you to change your path completely. And it’s totally no funs (yes multiple funs) to have to carry other peoples emotional baggage, and wonder about the life that got away because aunt Sophia was worried about the way the holidays would go without her favorite niece around to complete the place settings.


On to the ways to buffer this anxious love dance:

– Remind the person of the goals your planning to achieve

– Ask them if they want to move too? (…Since they are already talking about their experiences)

– Change the subject to something more neutral

– Stop talking and slowly back away

– Start thinking of your favorite song and let it play in your head a round before you respond if your feeling a bit annoyed and need time to find diplomacy in your word play

-Directly explain you can only carry your feelings of excitement for your new adventure and start talking about a cool book, movie, blogger or meal you have been swooning over


In general just do you. No point in living someone else’s perspective of your life, I’m sure you have Mountains to move and so keep going toward the mountain minus the cement wall.


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