We all live in the same world; where days are too short, we never get in the time with our friends, the time for the walks, or the talks that we meant to. Birthday’s come in a flash and children grow from 2 to 20 in the blink of an eye. It seems just yesterday I was in high school planning for my future and wondering, what will I do with my life, my career, and who will I be friends with? What kind of person will I become? What will my goals be?
My 12 year old self said that I wanted to live 20 hours away from home. I wanted to travel the world and see so many fun and new places. Today, 6 years after graduating high school, I am doing those exact things. Throughout high school and college, I successfully managed to visit 34 states. Today, here I sit, on my back patio, 18 hours away from my parents and siblings. Living the life I live in Houston, Texas with my husband, Kayne, so far from what I will always call “home.” (you can read about my experience getting married and life changing experience at Wedding to Life Crazy)
What I have come to learn: life is too short to not be with your family and friends. My family and friends are the people who hold me together. Too often, we take for granted the time we are given with our family and friends. The people that mean the most to us, are the ones that get pushed to the side first. When we attend dinner gatherings, we pull out our cell phones and begin sending e-mails, responding to texts and pushing the people who are physically sitting in front of us, to the side.
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” ~Desmond Tutu
Although I live hours from my parents, siblings & many friends I take photos to remember where I am today and am able to share my experiences. I love receiving photos from my family, as I know they understand my desire to be with them, and they understand me not being able to always jump on a plane for a weekend gathering. We get to live in each others worlds through the photos we share and the conversations we hold; all while, thousands of miles apart.
When you move away to a place so far away, you quickly learn who your forever friends will be. Those who you still talk to and come home to make the effort to see. With visits to Iowa being limited (due to my busy schedule and life in Texas), you only get so much time while back. This has forced me to key in on the few people and things I want to do while on vacation back home! The guys and girls who I get to see while home on my visits really help me to remember where my home will always be. These are the people who I will forever remember as my best friends. The friends who drop their life (when possible) just because I’m in town, or the people who we visit at work because that’s what it takes to see everyone we want on the limited schedule!
I promise, I am not intentionally forgetting anyone, but I simply have to RELAX while on this trip home also. After all, this is my vacation. When you go on vacation, what is your goal? To enjoy you time, and have fun. Then you have those amazing friends who we don’t see while on a visit, who still know how great of a friendship we have. The people who don’t take offense, because I ran out of time on my trip to be able to have dinner with them. (If you have ever lived out of your “home area,” I’m sure you understand this and can totally relate!)
I love the time with my family and friends so much more than I would have ever thought, because I understand being separated. Living 18 hours away from “home,” has truly helped me understand the value of time. I enjoy every minute I get when I am with my friends and family. When I return to Iowa, I definitely spend way too little time sleeping, to make sure I get in everything I possibly can, during my short visit. So the next time you get frustrated with a friend who didn’t stop to say hey on their way past, maybe this can give you a little understanding. I promise, we still love you.