Long Distance

Truth - Distance does make the heart grow fonder but it can also make the heart move on. Physical separation had a funny way of clarifying relationships. Some of them grow stronger with more in depth conversations, more personal truths, and real candid moments. Others atrophy, collect dust, or disappear completely. If you want people in your life your have to make an effort to have them there. It takes two people to form a friendship but just one to do away with it. Who are you calling, long distance?

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." Anais Nin

Remember back in the day when you phone carriers used to charge you a few for making long distance phone calls. You'd wait until nights and weekends or put them on your anytime list to save your minutes. It's funny the lengths that people used to go to in order to use their time on the phone wisely. Now there's no limit to how much and the ways in which people are able to connect. Phone calls, FaceTime, text messages, and all the social media outlets in between - if you want to reach someone it's relatively simple. Yet we still find that distance is enough of a barrier to end romantic relationships, demolish friendships, and obscure cross cultural care. What is it about being away from other that makes it so hard? I really want to know.

What I surmise is that for me I think relationships have been partially based on our proximity to one another. I remember being away from my high school friends when we all went to different schools was tough in the beginning but it was always implied that we were still friends even if we only caught up ever few months. In college it was just meeting up in the student center, getting dinner downtown, or walking down the hallway to see the people that you were connected to. I think there are some people you don't really have to try with, like those I mentioned before and then there are other people who you need constant contact with to affirm you still matter to one another. I'm realizing that I may not have matured as many of those connections as I'd thought. Of course who matters to us in the present depends on who we interact with regularly, but does that mean we let go of those who came before them. Maybe we as people can only handle knowing so many people at once and in order to make room for new people, others have to fade to the background or disappear all together. Is it a tough reality or I just have to try harder? Can long distance work?

This week was one those that make things blatantly clear. Being fresh out of college has meant that I've pretty much started over when it comes to friends. So far, my quest for friendship in grad school, work, or life has been sort of stalled. I've enjoyed my time by myself but it's also weird not really have people to be able to text, hang out with, and commune with - you know as young people. I just want to play some video games, hit a bowling alley, and laugh without having to hold back because you're wary of how other will take you. I want to be able to let my guard down and be my full self instead of this less intriguing, professional, and downright boring version that the outside world gets. Slowly but surely, I know I'm going to make those worthwhile connections but for now it's me, myself, and I - spending lots of time by myself.

You know that fear of missing out notion aka FOMO - it's all to real. My former institution kicked off it's school year and with it came the realization for those that knew me there that ... well I wasn't there. All of a sudden over the span of a few hours I received all these missing you messages, snapchats, and posts. It was endearing but also kind of overwhelming. Some came from people I had been consistently keeping up and others surprised me as they seemed to come out of blue. I guess sometimes people care for you more than you expect or you end mattering more to them more than they'll ever let on. Either way it was both great and awful to be missed. On one hand, it made me miss the people I had spent so much time with in college and on the other, it felt a little disingenuous. Like I said before, I'm highly accessible and realize now more than even that relationships go both ways. You can try as much as you want but it takes two to make things work. At a certain point, you have to cut your losses and reserve your friendship for those who are able to see it's value and worth. Not everything works out - long distance.

What I do know is that the people that consistently just check on you, remember your birthday, or say hello are the ones that understand the mutual effort it takes to make it work long distance. Some of my friends send me goofy snaps like they do to no one else, others send me handwritten letters in the mail, and others still send me those long rant texts that are the absolute best. I'm grateful to still be connected with so many people who have done nothing but add light to my life. Others I worry about our longterm viability but accept what we are, for what it is. Friendship knows no boundaries if you believe it to be so - go the distance. X

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