Should I stay or should I go?

Damsel, 

I have been in love with the same guy since I met him on the last day of school in 8th grade. I still am, even as I am in my first semester of college and he is 4 months into his LDS mission to Barcelona, Spain. We were each other's first loves, dating almost all of freshman year, and we were friends with benefits for a while after we broke up, but whenever I brought up anything seriously romantic in the years after that, like "hey, we should go on a date this winter" or "hey, want to kiss under the mistletoe?" he never followed through with it, despite our constant flirting and undeniable closeness. We've always had a great dynamic, the witty banter/gentle teasing/sincere care kind of thing I've never been able to find anywhere else, and I've been completely convinced that we're going to somehow work things out and get married, if only for the letters he wrote me when we were dating. He talked about exactly how he would propose to me, the names of our kids, how we would sit on a hammock as grandparents and reminisce on life, all that jazz. My question for you is WHAT SHOULD I DO? Because he's gone. He won't be back for 20 months. I want to give us the best possible chance to start something when he comes home, because I have every reason to hope he will give me a chance, but what does that mean for me? I have a lot of dreams, Damsel. I want to study photography in Chicago. I want to transfer to NYU for a semester. I want to teach English to children in foreign countries. I want to be me, while still keeping myself the best possible option for him. Should I go out and chase my dreams full well knowing that I might not be around when he gets back and subsequently miss my chance? Should I limit myself to a local scale while I wait to see how this all plays out? I don't want to live my life for other people, but I've dated countless other guys since then, and I know with absolute surety that I will never love anyone the way I love him. He is everything to me, even here, even now, but if I give up on certain goals I had for my life for a shot in the dark, I'm not sure I could ever forgive myself. I just don't know if I should choose between my lover's heart and my wanderer's heart. I don't know if I should make plans for my life with him in mind or without. I need someone to give me a gentle shove in either direction, and I think you're the gal for the job.

Signed,

Hannah Montana

Miley, 

Man... My hopeless romantic heart is leaping out of my chest. I want so badly to say wait for him, plan your life around this long-time-in-the-making-love-story, fall harder and harder. But that feels so sour coming out of my mouth. I can’t say it with my whole heart. My love, you are spilling out the seams with passion, it’s so undeniably obvious. Do you know how rare that is? How special? You need to hold onto that for dear life and pursue it with everything that you are. 

Love is the toughest pain to ignore, it’s not something you can shove under the rug and come come back to a few days later. It’s omnipresent, persistent in its need for attention. This also makes it difficult to decipher what you’re actually feeling- feelings have an obnoxious tendency to shape shift without any warning. I can hear it in your words that you love this boy, truthfully and powerfully, which is beautiful and admirable- but a part of me thinks that you’ve built him up to be the perfect guy for you, one who can do no wrong. I only say this because I have learned the hard way from my own experience that putting a person on a pedestal only ends in being unfulfilled. Because they can never match up to your grand expectations for them, which is unfair to them and to you, my girl. 

Another thing that I have learned from experience is that the cheesy saying (verbatim).. “You’ve got to fall in love with yourself before you can love someone else the right way” is 300% accurate. If you committed to this man with the weight of all the passions you didn’t pursue, it would reflect in the way that you love him. You would never be all in, because you would always resent a little part of him for being the reason you didn’t give your dreams a real shot. 

All of that to say, pursue your dreams, follow that passionate heart of yours, I am arm flail worthy excited for the places that they are going to take you. Hopeless romantic me wanted to make one more guest appearance: In the end, if he’s really the one, you’ll find a way back to each other. He will have lived the things he needed to live and you’ll have given this world everything you’ve got and maybe you’ll gravitate back to each other and it will be wonderful. But do your dear heart a favor and don’t wait on that. Go on and throw yourself at this life because in the end, that will be the decision you’re content with.

Yours truly,

The Damsel