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Self-Development or Relationship?

The world is an opened book nowadays, and therefore so many people of various ages and backgrounds face this dilemma. Some time ago I was one of them. And here's my story, so unique and so common all at once.

When I was doing my second year of university, I decided to apply for a study abroad program. I've always had wanderlust and that seemed like a perfect opportunity to clear my head and gain, new exciting experiences. Moreover, I got kinda tired of Vancouver, where I lived for three years then. I literally craved something new. So, I applied.

It was quite a tense competition, but in the end, I got accepted.

Midway through all that, I fell in love. He was amazing, and we were really happy together, but! There was a but. We started dating not too long before I had to leave Vancouver for eight months. We decided to keep "dating" on a long-distance, but eventually, that damn distance started to ruin a perfect relationship before even becoming reality. It only got worse with certain circumstances he was dealing with on his own, one of which was changing his career path. We started to spend less time together, he got quite depressed, and I was very anxious about everything, becoming less and less stable and more and more insecure.

We broke up just two days before I left. He initiated this, saying that this is not a good time for a relationship like this, and he was right. He just got a new job in BC that could lead him to a career of his dream, and I was about to go study in UK for one semester, for which I worked quite hard. We both were about to welcome big changes into our lives, but that was something personal, something that was about each of us separately and not together.

I realized that, and agreed that breaking-up was the most rational thing to do, but I was devastated. For a while, I only had two emotional states: rage or sorrow. I don't know if the fact I was spending summer break back in my hometown was helping or opposite, but that was that.

I went on working on a film set, and that was very first feature I've been participating in. I've travelled to Ukraine and Turkey. I was meeting with fellow-filmmakers, my friends from the first film school I attended. I had friends from other cities, visiting me in KZ. I had a very active summer full of new things and that was great. I didn't feel happy though, not even satisfied. All I felt was that I'm sad, lazy and irrelevant (to anybody except for my family). I was also dealing with severe anxiety, but that's a different story.

Finally, my break was over, and I went to the UK. The curriculum and other activities were completely different from what we have in Canada, which was exactly what I was looking for. I was learning so much there, and that was very interesting. I lived in the flat in a university hall, together with 9 other students, and that was a valuable experience. I finally learned how to cook for myself, because there were nobody who'd do it for me. I attended drama society and gained so much important knowledge about theatre production that I've always wanted to have. I've travelled around the UK, and even went to France, Netherlands, and Germany during reading week and for the first time in my life, I planed the entire trip for myself and made all the arrangements. I was actually growing and I felt it. I've learned, seen and experienced so much, it's pretty crazy to think about it. I don't think I would be able to do all that within my little comfort zone in Vancouver.

But even through all this, I haven't been happy. I felt grateful and excited, but not happy. I was sad and lonely, and I really missed being in a relationship. I missed the feeling of closeness and security. I missed giving love to someone, and being loved. Yes, despite all the great things happening in my life, despite how lucky and blessed I felt, I was unhappy. And for some reason, I wasn't really opened for new a relationship. Mostly, I guess, because I realized I'm being there for a very short amount of time, and I didn't want to involve into anything serious, and at the same time, little flings haven't interested me either.

I kept wondering, what would happened to my relationship with the only man I've loved, if I didn't choose to go to the study abroad program and just stayed in Vancouver. No doubts, my own life and that relationship would be very different. I would miss out on a wonderful opportunity, I wouldn't see and learn so many amazing things, but would that matter if I'd be actually happier? Or eventually, some other smaller thing would ruin that relationship anyway?

I don't think I know anyone, who'd managed to keep up healthy long-distance relationship. It is either one sacrifice personals "wants" of studying/working abroad for the sakes of staying with his/hers loved one, or one sacrifices his/hers relationship for the sakes of self-development.

I mean, it really is a either/or kinda situation. I know some couples, who tried to make the long distance work, and sometimes they were able to keep this going for YEARS, but eventually, that would go in flames anyway. For what I know, long distance relationships don't work. Of course every rule has an exclusion, and if I'm honest, now that a long time have past, I returned to Canada and completely healed my heart, I think that if I'll ever be in a similar situation again, I'll give long-distance a shot, if that is gonna be a mutual desire. Even though, so far according to my experience long distance does not work. Yes, I'm that naive. 

I don't regret my life decisions. I think I did a right thing. I feel free and independent, although I perfectly understand people, who pursued other way in the situation like that. I feel for them. There's nothing good about being broken-hearted (except for a very powerful source of inspiration, but that doesn't work for everyone).

I guess when it comes to that kinda choice love or growth, there is no right or wrong. It totally depends on the situation and your own personality. For instance, I am selfish and hungry for adventures. And I know how to be single, although I don't necessarily like it. But I honestly couldn't stand the idea of giving up everything I went through in the UK, for someone I have only known for a several months, although loved with all my heart. Not everyone has an opportunity like that, and I am so glad that I took advantage of it.

Very often happiness lives within a few square meters area, and you literally don't need to leave the surface of a bed to be feeling over the moon. But most likely this is not going to last forever. So does it worth giving up seeing the world, meeting new people, trying new things, etc? Not for me. Not for many other people. I made a choice that I don't regret one bit. Years from now, I will have this experience and I shall never lose it. Maybe I'll be happy in a different relationship, maybe not. But I'd still be blessed for everything I was living through those days. And that is great.

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