saying goodbye to city

Why Saying Goodbye Is Essential for Physician Families

Let’s dive into a topic that’s near and dear to the hearts of many physician families: saying goodbye. It’s that moment when you pack up your life and move on to the next chapter, leaving behind a place that’s been your home, your sanctuary, and your stomping ground. For some of us, these transitions can be driven by a complex algorithm as a result of the Match process. For others, post-training opportunities present themselves in new towns or cities across the country. 

In the middle of the hustle and bustle of packing boxes and logistical arrangements, it’s easy to overlook the emotional journey of bidding farewell. 

So, why exactly is saying goodbye so important?

Closure, my friend. Closure is key. Saying goodbye allows us to properly close the chapter of our lives spent in a particular place. It’s like turning the final page of a well-loved book, bringing a sense of completion to our story there. Without this closure, the transition to a new chapter may feel incomplete, leaving us with lingering feelings of nostalgia or regret.

Saying goodbye gives us the opportunity to express gratitude towards the city and the people who have impacted our lives during our time there. Whether it’s the families we love, friendships we’ve forged, support we’ve received, or the experiences we’ve shared, each interaction has left an imprint.

Taking the time to reflect on our experiences and lessons learned allows us to gain perspective and wisdom from our time spent in the city or a community. From the challenges we’ve overcome to the milestones we’ve achieved, each moment has shaped us in some way. By reflecting on our journey, we honor the growth and transformation that have occurred within us.

If you have kids, saying goodbye is especially important for them. Children thrive on routine and familiarity, so saying goodbye helps them process the upcoming changes and prepare for the transition ahead. Involving them in the farewell process—whether it’s saying goodbye to family and friends, visiting favorite spots, or creating keepsakes of their time in the city—gives them a sense of closure and empowerment as they take on the next adventure. 

The piece of saying goodbye that often gets overlooked is revisiting the places we love before we leave. These places hold a special significance in our hearts—they’re where we laughed, cried, and made memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it’s the park with our kid’s favorite slide or the coffee shop where we spent lazy Sunday afternoons, these spots are part of our story. Taking the time to visit them one last time allows us to bid a proper farewell.

Let’s talk about how to make that happen. Make a list of all the places you want to visit before you leave town. Think about the parks where your kids played, the restaurants where you celebrated special occasions, and the scenic spots where you took family photos. These are the places that have made your time in this city truly memorable.

Once you’ve got your list, start scheduling those visits. Block out some time in your calendar for each outing and make sure to spread them out over the days leading up to your move. Once you’ve visited your old stomping grounds, assemble a small photo album for you or your kids so you have something to look back on to help remember those great times.

As you prepare to move for residency, fellowship, or even if your spouse/partner is finished with training, try not to forget the importance of saying goodbye. It’s not just about looking back; it’s also about looking forward. This process prepares us mentally and emotionally for the upcoming transition and the challenges of adapting to a new environment; acknowledging the uncertainty and embracing the opportunity for growth and discovery that lie ahead. 

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