The most influential thing that has happened to me was falling in love. I was fifteen and naive and thought I could take on a long distance relationship spanning 741 miles and four states. We were both young and we thought, we knew, that we were in love, and that was all that mattered. We loved each other, and we thought we could take on the world together, while not actually physically being together. We wanted a future together, and we were destined to reach it, no matter the distance between us and the struggles we knew we would face.
We met on vacation, with only a brief eight days in paradise to get to know each other and quickly fall in love. Of course, like any tragic love story, we faced problems early on, but we didn’t want to give up so easily. We wanted to fight for each other, and we did for three months. From the day we both got home from vacation, our lives simply became revolved around the other one. We managed to Skype every night, while texting from the moment we woke up until the early hours of the next morning. And while falling deeper and deeper in love with him, I didn’t realize how I was losing myself in the process.
I closed myself off from most of my friends; they didn’t like the way he treated me, and I didn’t want their negativity about my relationship, so I stopped talking to them. I ignored my schoolwork, both in and out of school, so that I would have more time to talk to him. I gave up having a normal sleeping schedule because I would stay up late enough that I would have time to Skype him when he would get home from work. I let my whole life start to revolve around this boy who I had met on vacation just because I thought I loved him.
Like any couple, we had our arguments. We would fight and break up temporarily, only to run back crying to each other the next day. We couldn’t, we didn’t, want to live without each other. I was willing to be in our relationship for the long haul, I was willing to put in everything I could to make our relationship work. But one day, it became too much for him. That fight became our last fight, and he broke up with me for the final time. We were over for good, and within a few days, he completely cut me out of his life with no warning and no explanation. We went from the underdog, unlikely couple to a couple of two teenagers who couldn’t hold their lives together anymore.
I became a mess. I cried for two weeks solid, I didn’t leave my bedroom unless I absolutely had to, I barely talked to anyone outside of my mom. And then school started, and to make up for my lackluster end to the previous school year, I threw myself into my school work to distract myself from the breakup. I tried to act strong, but every night I would break down crying over him, and that went on for months. Months passed with no word from him, and all I did was worry and hope that he was okay. Even after he broke my heart, he was still one of my top priorities and my primary thought.
But eventually, I started to build myself back up again. I started talking to more people, I started laughing again, I started finding myself. I stopped writing when I got into that relationship, but once we broke up, writing became my one solace. I realized that while being in love was exciting and exhilarating and meaningful, it wasn’t the most important thing in the world if it meant that I was losing myself in the process. And that is the most influential that has happened to me; falling in love, losing myself in the process, and rebuilding and finding myself after the breakup.
I wrote that when I was on the cusp of being sixteen – over three years ago – and still heartbroken over losing my first love. I'm nineteen now, and I love that I have that to look back on, but I silently laugh and wish I could tell my fifteen-year-old self that that heartbreak won’t last forever and that our life moves on. It isn’t easy, but we move on – and there’s plenty more influential moments that affect and shape you more than losing him did. I laugh over the original title – “The Most Influential Thing That Has Happened to Me” – and softy shake my head, knowing I'm going to text that same boy in the story the link and we’ll laugh over it and reminisce over our lost relationship, thankful we’re friends now.