I am in a long-distance relationship. Actually, I am in several. Friends, family -- everyone I hold closest to my heart lives across the country. I only get to see them over Summer Break and Winter Break, plus the occasional holiday. It is difficult, and sometimes it feels impossible. Going days, weeks, even months without seeing your best friends? It is no easy task.
When life gets hard and all you want is a hug from your mom, or to stay up all night chatting with your best friend, the distance can seem overwhelming. You can feel alone in the world.
You spend every day texting them and Snapchatting, and the weekly Skype calls help to dull the ache of missing your loved ones. When exciting things happen -- you get a new job, you make a new friend, you aced a difficult class -- the first thing you do is update your best friends, or make a call to a parent. It can seem burdensome, to always be "updating" people, rather than just having them there. If you lived in the same place as your friends and family, you wouldn't need to "update" them. They would already know, because they would have been there. They would have experienced everything right along side you.
You spend most of your time missing them, but you also learn who you are. You find out who you are as an individual, and who you are with different people. You make new connections -- new friendships -- and you grow stronger.
Yes, life can be hard, and the distance can be overwhelming.
But I do not regret the distance, and I do not think anyone going through a long distance relationship should resent or regret the time apart. It can feel like a weight on your back, but if you let it, the distance can be a gift. It can be an opportunity to find yourself, meet new people, and have new experiences.
You will not be apart forever, and when you are reunited with your loved ones, you appreciate them more than you thought possible. You get to show them the new person you have grown into and you finally get to share your experiences with one another. Even though updating everyone on what they have missed out on can be overwhelming, living apart from your loved ones means you have so many new stories to tell them, and they have so many stories to tell you!
Because I live my life away from my friends and family, I know more than ever how much I need and love them. I also know that time passes, distances can be traveled, and that I will never let time or distance keep me from my people for long. I love learning who I am without them by my side 24/7, but I also know that even if they are in another state and another time zone -- we are never really apart.