As a veteran of many moves, thanks to The Big Kahuna’s career in the navy, I know the pre-departure routine all too well. People, even friends, start to distance themselves from you, and you occasionally find yourself being left out of things, or not invited or included. I get it - for some it makes saying farewell easier in many cases to create a distance.
You often find out who your real friends are when you’re getting ready to leave, and sometimes those friends aren’t the ones you expected. Rather than stay away, these are the friends that fix you meals or take you out to eat when you’ve cleaned out your refrigerator, help you pack and clean, or go out with you for coffee and sit while you cry and/or laugh over memories you’ve shared.
But, as much as I understand what’s going on, it’s still hard when other friends don’t come around much or want to get together, and seem eager to move on when you want to spend and savor time with them before you depart.
TBK and I have been experiencing all of this lately, but we knew it was coming. What we didn’t expect was some of the negativity and snide remarks we’ve heard, both about being retired and about our move to Hawai’i. From some, not only is it bad enough that we had the nerve to retire, but then to move to Hawai’i? Who in the heck do we think we are leaving Portland for Hawai’i when everyone else here has to not only stay, but continue to work at their lousy jobs?
When I come up against these people I just have to keep reminding myself that they have no idea that TBK had been working non-stop for 47 years (except when briefly unemployed or going to school) and was ready to retire. Just because his hair isn’t gray (lucky!) doesn’t mean he isn’t old enough to retire. I remind myself that these people have no idea that TBK spent 22 years in the navy before we ever came to Portland, and was often deployed for long periods of time, and I had to function as a single parent. They forget (or don’t know) that we had already raised a son that had graduated from college and was living and working in Japan when we met them. They have no idea how hard we have worked these past few years to pay off our debt and downsize, so we could afford to move to Hawai’i. They don’t know how much planning has gone into our move, that this isn’t just a whim on our part and we just whipped out our checkbook. And, I have to remind myself that they have no idea that our income has always been much, much less than many of theirs, and that we have always begged off taking part in all the destination travel and other activities with them because we just couldn’t afford it, and/or had other priorities.
When TBK was in the navy, even with the distancing that could occur, we never experienced or personally had any bad feelings when someone was moving on. Everyone knew the reason why someone was leaving or retiring, and knew that their time would come as well. So, the bad vibes and negative comments that we have gotten this time are something completely new for us. No, I don’t expect everyone to be jumping for joy over our move, but I honestly still don’t get the occasional bursts of negativity. Thankfully (or at least as far as they’re telling us), the girls haven’t experienced any of this, but for TBK and I it’s something new and unwelcome.
Not everyone is negative, of course. Looking on the bright side too, the bad feelings we’ve experienced have made us even more grateful and thankful for our true Portland friends. We will miss them more than we can ever express or let them know.