Many The Miles…

Cloudy Chicago last weekend
Cloudy Chicago last weekend

Distance has a way of defining people. It can restrict the accumulation of new experiences and perspectives, and at the same time it can cause one to realize how fortunate they are with what they have. To many, distance from a loved one translates to travel, Skype or frequent texts and phone calls. But it’s not hard to realize that there’s nothing like experiencing something or someone first hand.

A NYC girl myself, I was both excited and nervous to hear that my best friend Jenna had decided to spend the next four years at school in Chicago. I felt the same mix of emotions when my boyfriend got an internship there this summer.

Before college, Jenna and I had not been apart for more than three weeks, since we became friends in second grade. The distance from NYC to Chicago was trying, and especially with busy schedules, homework and new friends, keeping in touch wasn’t as easy as we had imagined. But we did it and each time we see each other in person, it’s like she never left.

My boyfriend and I met in early October, and became entirely inseparable since then. Ben quickly earned the titles of boyfriend and best friend, and I’d never experienced a romantic relationship so purely good and strong before that. Though at school we lived in the same building, the summer seemed to loom at a “long” distance drive of one hour from his town to mine. Until he was offered an internship in Chicago. Weekend visits turned into Skype dates and phone calls, and even though I missed him, our relationship was fine.

I have to acknowledge that I started my year shutting out the possibility of ever being in a long distance relationship, incredulous at how my roommate reached her one year anniversary with her boyfriend even though they only saw each other a couple weekends a year. Now I realize, that if you love someone enough, long distance is worth it. Being patient is worth it, because being with them is worth it.

CCG rainy plane
Rainy and gloomy take-off from Chicago –> NYC

Being apart for most of the summer made me realize how spoiled and lucky I had been during the rest of the year. Not only did we live on the same campus, but in the same building, just a floor apart. We were separated by a staircase and a hallway, and saw each other multiple times a day. Transitioning into a long distance relationship this summer was understandably difficult. We were now communicating a totally non-physical way, we were still us, but it was different.

I’m fortunate enough to get to see him a few more times this summer, and our living situation is exactly the same during the next school year. I realize that I have been blessed with this situation. I also realize that relationships are unique to each couple. One of my friends at school got engaged last year, at 18 years old, to her boyfriend of five years who is in the military. She sees him once every few months and considers herself lucky to have that.

Putting this all into perspective, no matter how different each relationship may be, or what sacrifices might need to be made to make it work, the reason for all of this remains the same— you love them, and they love you, and that’s what makes it worth it.