April feels like the month of approaching starts and ends. People everywhere are graduating school, moving out of apartments, taking final exams, and packing away their winter clothes–and the start of summer, long vacations, and new jobs feels especially close. For me, it’s always been a confusing atmosphere to experience: while I can’t wait to see my family and finish out my time as a student, this also always means saying goodbye to dear friends.
I know how all the euphemisms go, how “distance can’t really ever separate close friends” and that “goodbyes aren’t permanent.” Yeah, as cheery and meaningful as such sentiments can appear on paper, they never quite seem to soften the blow of actually watching someone you love get in a car and leave the city, or state, or country. The reality is that goodbyes always suck. As a ballet dancer, I’ve had more than enough experience with losing close friends to other training divisions, dance jobs, or college programs. People often ask me if it becomes easier over time to handle these goodbyes, if, perhaps, I’ve been able to develop a certain numbness to friends moving away. I would love to say yes. I’d love to agree that a negative correlation existed between the amount of goodbyes I make and the level of emotional turmoil that accompanies them. But that’s simply not the case.
My lifestyle doesn’t exactly help with this situation. When you spend every day with the same people–wearing nothing but a leotard and tights with them, sweating with them, crying with them, sharing good and bad news with them, getting up close and personal for choreography with them, seeing their successes and failures–you end up bonding with them pretty easily, no matter how vastly different you might be outside of ballet. So when you find those people who you DO really connect with beyond the inevitable bonds of the studio, the relationships become incredibly strong incredibly fast–and incredibly difficult to abandon.
If there’s one good thing that encroaching farewells can yield, it’s a renewed appreciation of the time I’ve spent and the time I have left with the people I know are leaving. This month is the month when I can be quickly responding to a message and wind up hours later deep in the recesses of my Snapchat memories, reminiscing about that time two years ago when my friends and I went to Target together and bought matching Christmas mugs and drank orange juice out of the gallon on the ride home. It’s the month when instead of keeping to themselves everyone brings donuts to mandatory Saturday rehearsal and hangs out like the giant family we are. It’s the month when I jump at every chance to spend an evening in with my roommates because I don’t know how many more movie nights the three of us will have together. It’s the month when getting into silly disagreements seems just a little easier to avoid.
I realize I have no right to throw a pity party–goodbyes go two ways, and I certainly have the easier of them. I won’t have to leave this city or this company and even some of my best friends from this year. Regardless, I will be a complete mess come May 25th for the last graduate program performance. No matter how many oatmeal raisin cookies I’ve eaten (and let me tell you I’ve had many an oatmeal raisin cookie in my 20 years of life), they always taste fabulous. The quantity of cookies hasn’t dulled the delicious experience for my taste buds even slightly. And no matter how many goodbye hugs I give, they never seem to lose their painful sting. To avoid them would only be possible if I also avoided all of those meaningful starts of friendships that preceded them. In my mind, the price of these impending farewells is well well worth the relationships that cause them. So, as tough as it can be, I’ll never stop creating reasons for goodbyes as long as I keep on devouring cookies.
Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (V)
These cookies are soft, chewy, and sweet with just a touch of cinnamon. They’re full of oats and raisins and are delicious warm out of the oven or cooled off later!
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (Earth Balance is great)
- 1 cup vegan light brown sugar
- 2 flax eggs (2 TBSP total ground flax mixed with 6 TBSP total cold water left to thicken in fridge for at least 5 minutes)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups raisins
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, flax egg, vanilla, and salt. Mix on medium-low speed until combined (You can mix by hand if you don’t have a stand/hand mixer).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and oats.
- Gradually add the dry ingredient mix to the wet, mixing after each addition. Continue until oat mixture is completely incorporated.
- Add raisins to the bowl, and mix on low speed until evenly distributed.
- Chill dough in fridge for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Form cookies: scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough into hands, and press into a gently flattened circle. The cookies will not spread much at all, so form them nearly into the shape you desire after baking.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until bottoms have lightly browned. Transfer to cooling rack if desired, and let cool. Enjoy! Store in a sealed container at room temperature.