Imagine a warm spring night and a boy and a girl who barely knew each other. It only takes two months for the two to intertwine. He writes her a song. She gives him a mixed CD. And just when summer starts to tease the air, she is thousands of miles in the sky flying to the land down under. I’d like to pretend that on that day, he was staring up at the sky and making wishes to every airplane that sliced through the air.
I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Our foolish promises, made with glazed eyes and distant hopes, would not be enough to sustain us. I spent my first month abroad madly missing him, finding that Skype and Facebook were not enough to calm me. Passion turned into frustration which turned into realization that we should have never gotten into this mess. When it was over, I went from heartache to hatred, taking all my strength to restrain myself from contacting him. I was on a once in a lifetime experience abroad, but on the brink of letting him ruin everything.
It was a warning sigh, the way we barely knew each other while pretending we did by projecting an ideal image. And the distance made that easier. The miles put up a barrier so that we were free to imagine the other person as who we thought they should be, not as who they truly were.
Whether it was the distance, our personalities, or the way the stars happened to align, the two of us never had a future. But I was lucky to be abroad during the inevitable break up, because it gave me the possibility to learn about myself.
It started like any bad breakup – I wallowed and let my sadness keep me from making friends and experiences. I was spiteful of his life in America, and angry that he seemed to be enjoying himself so much while I was alone in a foreign country. I lacked the confidence and motivation to break free. I saw him as my safety net, a link to my home and a comfort zone. It was easier to listen to sad songs alone in bed than to go out and put on a happy face.
It took me too long to realize that the only person who could create the life I wanted was me. It was useless to rely on a silly boy thousands of miles away to bring me happiness. He wasn’t going to make friends for me. I was in a foreign country and endless adventures were waiting at my doorstep. Dwelling on what could have been would not change my present situation. What I needed was to give in to the fear and responsibilities of making my own choices.
I learned that it’s true what they say: you can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself. Separated, I was able to truly be myself. I know that I can be independent and self-reliant, and make my own decisions that will bring me the greatest happiness. Most importantly, I learned that it’s okay to be alone, that I can never be truly lonely if I am comfortable in my own skin and with my own thoughts.
I don’t regret trying to make it work. It means we were young and hopeful. We felt powerful enough to believe that our relationship would transcend the challenge of the miles. But it fails, so we try again. Maybe with a different person, maybe with no one at all. You don’t need me to tell you that the world is huge and full of interesting people you have yet to meet. But you know what? It’s possible to conquer the miles all by yourself.