“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
Saying goodbye is one of the most difficult parts of life. There always seems to be unfinished business, friends to become closer with and words still unsaid. Dreams still haven’t been achieved and some aspirations lie untouched. But that’s the beauty in goodbyes. It’s a time to reflect, to admire the journey that has built character. It’s the moment when all past troubles are put aside for a final hoorah. The struggles, pain and losses were worth it. The victories, celebrations and heartfelt memories become all the more relished. All for a goodbye.
To say farewell to everything I’ve known in high school—chasing each other around with water guns in Assassin, isolating ourselves in blocs of fours in our cars for lunch and shining the light for what seems like every single rally—online is, to say the least, not what anyone had hoped for. There’s so many “lasts” that we missed out on appreciating. One more traverse in the fog from the main building to the portables…three separate times in one day. One more morning blasting music at the school entrances and passing out candy to students as I’m decked out in spirit gear. One more time soaking in the beauty of the Moody baseball field as the sun sets behind the stands after a late practice. At the same time, it seems fitting. We’re making it work. Is it ideal? No. But we’ve adapted and overcome.
It also perfectly describes my Redwood Bark experience. We are constantly working in a whirlwind of undulating adaptation and adjustment. Whether it’s directing last minute changes during paste-ups, making audibles for how we’re going to cover recent developments in our community or adapting to enable every editor the resources and knowledge to lay this very paper out in their own home, we’ve always found a way. Together. We never shy away but confront every situation directly and without hesitation.
To everyone whom I have interacted with in the past and will work with in the future, that sums up the greatest life lesson that I’ve learned: we will forever be presented with challenges, but failing to overcome those challenges is far from the worst outcome. Never trying in the first place is. And making an effort usually does work out. It’s amazing how much we can achieve when we come together as a family, a team and a community. That process of overcoming anything, or least trying to overcome, together, is the essence of being human.
So here’s what I say: cheers to the memories. Cheers to the supporters and the adversaries. Cheers to all of us. This isn’t goodbye, though. Although it may not feel like it, we’re all still living in the “good old days.” I’m still on this journey with every single one of you. We’re just getting started.