4 Things I've Learned From Living 541 Miles From My Love

4 Things I've Learned From Living 541 Miles From My Love

Between the two of us, there are 541 miles and a million lessons we've learned.
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If you'd told me on my 17th birthday that less than one month later I would meet someone who would change how I view the world, I would've laughed in your face. Except, on November 22, 2015, I did.

I met my now-boyfriend of two years via Skype through a mutual friend and changed how I view the world he has. It's a little bit funny to think about falling in love with someone who lives 541 miles away from you through a camera, and it seems crazy to think that anything like that could possibly last. But I did, and it lasted.

In our relationship, we've faced challenges that can seem minuscule to anyone who hasn't dealt with them themselves. We've have had to think critically through things that should be simple in high school and college relationships. Through it all, I have become a stronger, gentler, and more understanding person. Here are the four most important values I've learned.

1. Patience

I don't get to see him every day. I don't even get to see him every week or every month. I had to learn to accept that I can't always be with him when I want to be, so patience has become a virtue. Being away from him makes every moment with him even sweeter. I've learned to apply this throughout my life as well.

2. Trust

This trust is deeper than trust I've ever given someone else. It's when he tells me, "It's going to be okay," and I believe him and when he says, "Don't worry about it," so I don't. I began trusting him with the little things and the big things at the same time.

3. Compromise

News flash: long distance relationships are expensive. Between plane tickets, gas money, shipping costs for gifts, and more, I've found myself really broke really fast. Because of this, we have to miss out on a lot of big events in each other's lives. We were unable to be together for either of our junior year proms and senior year I skipped my own to be with him. During our first winter break of college, we wanted to spend it together, but also with our families, so we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with his family, drove for nine hours, and then had Christmas dinner and celebrated the New Year with mine. We've each had to give up some experiences in order for us to experience new things together.

4. Sacrifice

I didn't want to be the girl who chose where to go to college based on where her boyfriend was going, so I didn't. And he understood. I knew that choosing the school that is right for me was more important than shaving five hours off my travel time to his school, so I chose the school eight hours away from him that was right for me. We have to make really tough decisions about what is best for us right now and what will be best for us in the future and to do that we know we each have to focus on ourselves first.

Our relationship has made me a stronger and better person in all aspects of my life. Even though I find these to be the four most important, I know I have grown and will continue to grow as a person because of our relationship.

Cover Image Credit: Ashleigh Hardwick

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For Camille, With Love

To my godmother, my second mom, my rooted confidence, my support

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First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.

During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.

You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.

While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.

In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.

Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.

When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.

Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.

You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.

When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.

When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.

When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.

When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.

Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.

I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.

You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.

Lots of love,

Haiden

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