Lessons I've Learnt Due To Long Distance

I've mentioned in previous articles that I think one of the negative stereotypes people make about long distance couples is that they are immature and are for young people who don't really understand the way the world works. I think people see them as something two silly young things think is a good idea until the day they see sense. However, I take issue with this.
I would argue that my long-distance relationship has really made me grow up.
I have learnt so many things from it that I don't know when I would have learnt had I not been in it, and had so many experiences that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

When I met Taylor, I was twenty and I would not say that I was immature at the time. I went to boarding school and had therefore lived without my parents for seven years in some shape or form. However, I think that I have accumulated so many more responsibilities since entering into the challenge of conquering distance in my relationship.

For starters, after Taylor went home to America in January 2013 - after studying in England for three months, which was when we met each other - my immediate desire was to see her. I have never felt so much drive to do something. I frequently call myself lazy, which Taylor hates, and I'm not lazy lazy, but I am someone who likes to take easy routes when it comes to things which seem quite challenging. For example, I travelled a lot on my year out before university, but I regret not travelling around more just on my own - instead, I went with a volunteer company, who helped me plan the process.

After Taylor left England, though, I booked a trip to California in my Easter holiday from uni, the next opportunity I had to go out there. In doing this, I was leaving the safety of home and doing something unexpected, two things which I generally find very hard to do. I struggle with spontaneity - I like to have things planned at least a week in advance! I also adore being at the heart of my family - I spent five years at boarding school in a different town from my family home, and was homesick every single day. Now that I live in London, where my parents also live, not a week goes by where I don't see them at least once.

On the subject of travelling to California, there were some necessities here which I had never done before. Although throughout my life I've travelled A LOT - I was blessed with parents who have a passion for travelling - till I met Taylor, I had never booked a flight myself. Taylor and I now look up and book flights frequently, but I'd never done it before the first time. I have to admit that I didn't know you had to look at two separate prices when you search for a return flight. I also did not know that you had to enter your passenger details. Luckily my mum was there to give advice on that one! But next time, she wouldn't need to be. Taylor and I have also booked and stayed in hotels on several occasions. We especially did this while I was in California, and it was something I had never experienced doing, although I have stayed in hotels many many times. The experience of booking the hotel, entirely checking yourself in and then paying your bill out of your own wallet is extremely educational.

Travelling around with Taylor has educated me on other basics of life that I don't know when I'd have learnt otherwise. Through the great amount of driving Taylor and I did in America, and that we do when she is in England, what with me fetching her from airports, I have learnt to fill up my gas tank, which I had no idea how to do before and simply resisted finding out. To be honest, I don't think I even knew how to tell when I was running low. I passed my driving test about half a month after meeting Taylor and I think if it wasn't for her I'd have done a twenty minute drive once since passing.

However, my responsibility of looking after Taylor when she comes to England means that I have driven a lot more than I would otherwise, going to pick Taylor up from Heathrow, and even picking up Taylor's sister and her boyfriend, Paige and MJ, when they came to stay with us in London. To someone who took their theory test four times and passed their driving test on the third attempt, the confidence I have now gained when it comes to driving is indispensible and something I treasure. I also absolutely love driving now - something I thought I would never say!

And then of course, there's the biggest thing about being in an LDR: there's the cost of it. Being in a long distance relationship has transformed my outlook when it comes to money. I've always invariably had a reputation as someone who is incredibly bad with money. Historically, I love designer clothes and eating out. While I still love these things, I now see them as treats, not as day to day essentials. My saving ability has improved vastly through my relationship with Taylor. Although I remain at a loss when it comes to maths, and managing money can still leave me very confused, I am now always saving for flights, and saving well, if I do say so myself.

Before I met Taylor, I'd experienced saving up for something big once and it was my £200 tattoo. I paid for it with my job as a nanny which I did for a whole summer. However, by July, I had saved up more than enough, and after I got inked, I stopped saving. Then the money was all for me, and to this day, I literally don't know where it went... I must have just spent it on complete crap, because I can't even think of any really nice clothes or anything I bought around that time. Now though, even once Taylor and I buy a flight, that's not the end to my saving routine. I immediately start saving for the next flight, and I think this practice of saving even when there's not something right on the horizon to save for will stay with me forever.

To aid me in my new habit of saving, I also got a job once Taylor went back to America. I now work as a waiter for a catering company. Before I met Taylor, I babysat occasionally, but it wasn't anything like the amount of work I have the opportunity to do now. I was also frequently happy to do work for nothing. Now as much as I think voluntary work is important, I understand better that, what with being a student and the current financial situation I am in, my time is precious and it is important to have some payback for the time I spend working.

Although I would definitely say there are aspects of my life where I still have growing to do, I do think that I have come a really long way since starting a long distance relationship with Taylor. I have learnt things from the practical aspects of being with her which are really important life lessons, and I have been challenged to step outside of my comfort zone in ways which will always be beneficial to me.

I have learnt things from being part of this couple which being half of a couple who weren't long distance or international would never have taught me. If Taylor and I had lived in the same city we wouldn't have lived together for long periods of time, and I wouldn't have learnt half the lessons or had half the adventures which have been added to my life because of how far apart the places we come from are. Although it's not always easy, the lessons I've learnt are just another of the many many many reasons why I am so happy I met Taylor and this relationship formed in my life.

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