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.
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.
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.
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.
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.