By Jen Fine, Regular ContributorNovember 25, 2015
image via newlovetimes.com
With Thanksgiving right around the corner and everyone beginning to plan which side of the family they’re going to hit up first and exactly what time they’re going to leave to get to the next dinner, I can’t help but be reminded that my entire extended family will once again be celebrating in a different state than my mom, dad, brother, and I.
Throughout my life I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the most inspiring and life-changing individuals.
What makes our relationships even sweeter, however, is the fact that I know that no matter how far apart we are, the fundamentals of our friendships will always be close to heart.
With my extended family residing on the East Coast, me living in the Midwest with my immediate family, and having best friends who live scattered throughout the country, I have had to make an extra effort to keep in touch and stay up to date with all of the latest and the greatest. While some people would be exhausted by this process and spend the majority of their day sulking about the fact that they can’t be with all of their loved ones whenever they snap their fingers, I find it unbelievably refreshing. While coping with distance is a life lesson that may be unfavorable at times, it is both rewarding and humbling to know and love so many people that it is almost impossible to be with a good amount of them at the same time.
Having members of your pack sprinkled throughout the country not only allows for incredible traveling experiences and quick trips to all sorts of exciting locations, but it also provides suspense and excitement when finally getting to see your loved ones after a long time away. You want to spend the summer interning in Manhattan? You have a place to stay just a few miles away with your Grandma. You want to head to Milwaukee for the Yankees-Brewers game? Your college roommate lives in a suburb right outside of the stadium. Sick of the white picket fences and need a little change up for July 4th this year? No worries just take the train to your friend’s apartment in Chicago and spend the weekend traipsing around Lincoln Park instead.
For me, the possibilities are endless when it comes to adventure and spontaneity.
I know that with just one phone call/plane ride/long drive I could be in the arms of someone who I love, adore, and appreciate, either checking out a new part of the country, trying a new food for the first time, experiencing the wonder of a good friend’s hometown, or simply reminiscing on my childhood at the deli down the block from my old house.
So, as the holiday season approaches and I start to feel saddened by the lack of family I’ll have sitting around the dining room table for Thanksgiving dinner or the lack of laughter I will hear coming from the kitchen as I walk into my aunt’s house on New Year’s Eve, I will remind myself just how lucky I am. I will remind myself that the intimacy of a small Thanksgiving dinner with only my immediate family or the celebration after the ball drops with my closest high school friends are experiences that I would never have had the chance to have if I had not been lucky enough to learn life’s hard. Although knowing and loving people in multiple places is especially tough, it can be especially worth it as well.
Do you have friends or family scattered throughout the country? How do you maintain your relationships? Tell us below!
Jen is currently a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys all things sarcastic, obsessing over the New York Rangers, and is a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee fanatic. When she’s not singing in the shower, writing her feelings, or dishing out life advice to her friends, you can catch her lying around watching One Tree Hill for the third time. Feel free to check out her personal blog at jenfine.wordpress.com for more!
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