If you haven’t read it, I recommend reading it here: Why Developing Serious Relationships in Your 20s Matters.
I read it, and it resonated with me, especially in my current life’s journey. Remember two posts ago where I mentioned that I struggle sharing my travel story in depth because there were things I wasn’t yet ready to face… here in this post that I linked above pointed out so many of those fears I was forced to sort through. Take into consideration, I read this as more than just about romantic relationships… I read it as relationships of all kinds, friends and family included.
You see, driving for 45 days can get extremely isolating and challenge the relationships you have spent years establishing. It was hard for me to come to terms with the fact that not everyone can handle distance… it’s like that saying, “out of sight, out of mind”… yeah that applies across the board. I thought long distance struggles were just had between the romantic… but in reality, all relationships need attention in one way or another. Everyone has lives of their own and this was (oddly enough) a rude awakening for me.
This journey was a BIG deal for me. It was (and still is) a huge risk. I was experiencing things I couldn’t have planned for. I was dealing with situations and feelings I had put on hold for months, maybe years. And although I was never 100% by myself… as I stayed with someone each night… I felt completely and totally alone. The worst part, I couldn’t understand why.
I’ve spent years developing deep friendships. Friendships that I’ve been proud to recognize were much deeper than most people have, and in an unrealistic quantity. I thought I did what I could to keep up with them. From birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, traveling, you name it… I just don’t like to miss the things that matter to them. I like people, I like listening to people, I like learning people, and I love meeting and developing new relationships with people. So what had I done wrong to feel so dismissed? It was as if no one cared about my journey or the risk I was taking. I felt like not even my family cared. It hurt. A lot.
The hardest, most challenging part of my trip was having someone with me for the last two weeks and seeing his family and friends call every couple of hours to see how it was going… and not see my phone go off but once or twice to his 10. I questioned everything, every relationship. I felt bitter. Angry. Disappointed. A few times, close to tears. Like I said, it hurt. It hurt to feel like something that meant this much to me meant so little to those I cared most about. And it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that this is life. We grow up, we grow apart, and we all have lives.
The truth of the matter is, even I didn’t live up to all those things mentioned above. I’ve missed important events, dates, and phone calls. I’ve failed at listening closely at times recently or reading between the lines. I’m not always punctual nor do I have the best memory for big things… although I try, as they tried, more than I realized. I realized, very slowly, after reconnecting one by one with my friends and family that it wasn’t that they didn’t love me, that they didn’t care about what change I’ve experienced or accomplishment I’ve completed… it’s that we all have lives that distract us. We all show how we care for one another in very different ways. And sometimes, we just need to speak up when we need a little extra support. I learned a lot on this trip… and I’m learning even more now that I’ve completed it.