In junior high, my sister and I somehow talked my parents into taking us to the Billboard Music Awards in Vegas one winter. We staked out front-row spots on the red carpet and watched the celebrities stream in — N’Sync! Hanson! Jerry Springer! (Why, yes, this did happen in the late ‘90s. How could you tell?)
At one point, a Backstreet Boy (the one with the goatee who was not-so-secretly 45) came within inches of our section before being called away. As he turned to leave, though, he stopped, looked back and told us, “Peace. I gotta go.” He flashed a sideways peace sign, like some too-old, too-pacifist gang member, and then he was gone.
To this day, I believe that’s the coolest goodbye I’ve ever witnessed.
Because, in that one instant, we were left simultaneously devastated (he was, like, soooo close to signing this wadded up piece of paper for us, you guys!!) and completely thrilled (he talked to us — or, at least, in the vicinity of us!!) And isn’t that exactly how everyone would like to leave things when they go — whether departing a party, a town, a job or, ultimately, life?
We should all aim to leave people wanting a little more — but also feeling really glad they had a chance to spend some time with us, no matter how brief, in the first place.
As I get ready to leave LifeHealthPro on Wednesday for another job opportunity, there’s no way I’ll be able to live up to that standard-setting farewell I witnessed at the Billboard Awards. Because a) you’re not an audience of teenage girls, b) I’m not a Backstreet Boy and, most importantly, c) I’m incapable of growing a goatee.