When I was young I dreamt of living in foreign countries. Of experiencing exotic cultures. Of exploring, adventuring, wandering, and discovering. Of being free from ties and able to float on my own.
What I didn't know when I dreamt those big dreams was that they would become a reality. An amazing, breathtaking, exhilarating, heart-wrenching reality. That distance does make the heart grow fonder, and it hurts like hell. That living in foreign countries is like everything I imagined and nothing I imagined. That as easy as travel blogs and inspiring photos on Pinterest make it seem, it is hard, dirty, tiring work.
What I didn't know was that exploring, adventuring, wandering, and discovering meant making new friends along the way. Not just any friends, but friends of the life-long variety. And that the wandering part of my dream meant that no matter where I lived, I would live apart from them.
What I didn't know was that life around the globe keeps going whether you're a part of it or not. That family is precious, friends are treasures, and relationships are priceless. That the depth of emotion that comes from the realization of a life-long bond being formed is unfathomable.
What I didn't know was that growing up means more than getting older. It means more than degrees or marriage or kids or mortgages. Growing up means life will change. And you will change. And your heart will expand. And your views will be challenged. And your capacity for experiencing intensity in joy and pain becomes bigger and bigger and bigger. And it's painful. And wonderful. And incredible. And hard.
And worth every minute.