Thoughts on good-byes*

(Just to clarify, I’m not going anywhere. The good-byes are more abstract, for me.)

I’ve been thinking about good-byes a lot lately.

Not just in a sad sense, though obviously there’s a huge element of that at play most of the time. Even temporary good-byes are sad.

(Full disclose, my girlfriend has been out of town this weekend, and while I wouldn’t say we’re completely codependant, she is also one of my best friends, so things at our household have been kind of quiet for the weekend.)

So maybe it’s a little bit of that. Maybe it’s because I’ve had One Last Time from Hamilton stuck in my head off and on since we got to see it live. It could be because they’re ramping up to do a new adaptation of a show I have a lot of fondness for, in spite of its weaknesses and faults.

(That would be the anime Dangan Ronpa 3, which my friends who are fans of the franchise as a whole tell me fell down a lot with regards to its story and messaging compared to the first two, which were video games. And I can admittedly also see where some of the cracks exist, though as someone brand-new — if not unspoiled — I think I had a better time with it than most of them, to be honest. The point is, spoiler block, I had three favorite characters, two of whom died and the last one is grimly obligated, through both the narrative and his own need for atonement, to live on and bear their burden.)

We could go both deeper and wider and look at a picture of the world as a whole. Things are pretty grim! As much as I felt better coming into 2018 a lot of that has faltered or soured. I’ve almost completely given up on Twitter because there’s so much news on my feed. And I don’t begrudge that of the people I follow; this is our shared world, and it’s important to know what’s going on. Everyone has their own comfort levels and desire for engagement, and for me, I hit that limit a while ago.

So there’s another one of life’s small good-byes: to Twitter. I’d like to go back eventually, though I’m admittedly daunted by the idea. For now, at least, I’ve mostly bowed out there.

I should note that while I am terribly anxious about a lot of this — hence the issue with my Twitter — I am not interested in bowing out permanently. I’d hazard a lot of my anxiety is because I’d like very much to keep on keeping on, though I worry about what the wider world landscape will look like as one does.

Good-byes have been on my mind. Those that come deliberately planned, the ones that happen entirely by accident, and the ones that come so slowly and drawn out that you don’t even realize it happened until it’s long over. Even with the short-term ones there can be a bittersweetness that’s hard to shake. It lingers. Like any sort of grief, there’s an ebb and flow. Things flare up and they fade, but they never quite go away. And maybe that’s part of why it’s been on my mind.

It’s a strange feeling too, because I’m not really one for the bittersweet or the angsty. When it comes to fiction, I don’t mind a harrowing or unhappy story so long as it has its brighter moments and a happy ending. The continuing attitude that the only “worthy” or “realistic” stories are the ones where things are grim and dark and struggling is anathema to me.

Of course there are definitely good and worthy stories along those lines. There are some I’ve enjoyed! (I mean, I’m also a fan of the horror genre, and there’s not a whole lot of “overall lighthearted” to go around.) But as an overall trend and preference when I am consuming new media, I want to look for things that are happier in tone.

Maybe it’s true that harder stories are more realistic, but that doesn’t mean I have to want to consume more of it in my fictional media. I want the version of the story where the good-byes become hello-agains; I want to see the story where instead of being crushed by grim obligation, the characters live on because there’s something better that exists within sight — a goal that can be worked for, instead of some ever-distant impossible ideal. I want more sweet than bitter in all things.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it.

The good-byes stay with you.

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