When we decided to attend different colleges, the barrage of questions from family and friends was almost endless: "Aren't you going to miss each other? Isn't it going to be hard being so far apart?" The answer to both of those questions (and several others) is usually a simple "yes." We will miss each other. It is hard being so far apart (916 miles to be exact). But the answers to those questions are only the tip of the iceberg in regards to the experience we go through each year as we part ways.
The experience has a learning curve with a slope that did nothing but steepens during the 18 years we spent glued to each other's sides. Nevertheless, we were ready for the personal freedom and the time that we spent apart has taught us (and continues to teach us) some of the most valuable lessons we've learned to date.
It is redefining the word "soon" to mean "in a few months" rather than a few minutes. It is learning to talk about you to new friends who've never met you. It is not having someone to lean on and find comfort in when I inevitably become awkward and anxious in a social situation. It is daily texts and late-night FaceTimes from different states. It is being on completely different schedules and still trying to figure everything out. It is trying to address the challenges in your own environment while also making time to help the other person through theirs. But most importantly, it continues to be understanding that it's okay for us to be apart and experience life differently because at the end of the day we will always have each other regardless of where we are.
Still, while apart we are able to discover a lot about our identities as individuals outside of the context of being half of a whole pair. In addition, the time we spend apart allows me to realize that some of the things that would get on my nerves are actually things that I miss about you. Who else do I know that's dancing in the car, constantly listening to Taylor Swift's music on full volume, and always prepared with the best (and most sassy) life advice? But, Taylor Swift aside, I think the biggest lesson we had to learn was how to manage a long-distance friendship and sisterhood.
Now as we part ways once again to start our sophomore year, we are so much closer than I think we have ever been, which makes this goodbye harder than the last. The time apart has demonstrated the value of the time we spent together, which is something I am extremely grateful for. Yes, we fight and argue and frankly that's because we know each other so well that we know exactly what buttons to push and when to push them. But at the same time, there is no one else that I'd rather have by my side (literally and figuratively) on this journey through life.
Yes, I will miss you and I will cry as I go through the heart-wrenching experience of saying goodbye to you at airport security with a final hug. But, I am comforted by the fact that in four months I will get to experience the pure joy of saying hello and tackling you in a hug at airport security once again. It is a viciously repetitive and emotional cycle that has tested me and our relationship on several levels. But getting to see your true happiness as you grow and flourish into a strong, badass, and compassionate woman makes the entire cycle worth it.
Love you always & see you soon,