This evening, while driving home on my bicycle, I thought about one of my best friends, a classmate, who went home early last week for Thanksgiving. I wished that she were still in town. I wished that I could see her before this upcoming Monday. I missed her. So I sent her a text message telling her that I missed her.
Which made me realize, I don't miss a lot of people. I don't miss my dad. I don't often miss my friends who live in other cities and states. Worst of all, I don't miss the guy I recently started dating who lives in another city. And all of these people, at some time or another, tell me that they miss me.
Am I cold and heartless? Am a horrible daughter, friend, significant other? Am I too selfish and absorbed in my current life that I fail to think about the people I care about who are far away?
Maybe. Probably not. I think the key is that the amount I miss people is almost directly related to how often I see them. My friends who live in town, who I'm used to seeing on a regular basis, those are the people I miss the most when I notice their absence. On Sunday, I saw a friend at church who had been out of town for a few weeks. I had missed her. Things happened that I wanted to include her in, but I couldn't. I wanted to talk to her at times, but I knew she was busy. I missed her and I was excited to see her return. My classmate I mentioned above? I see her 2-3 times a week, so after 6 days without seeing her, I miss her. Whenever I move or someone else moves? For a time, I miss those people a lot.
This applies to the friends and family who live in other cities. How much I miss them is related to how often I see them. The friends I see almost every two months? After 3 or 4 months, I start to miss them. The friends I only see every 6 months? Sometimes sooner, but by 9 months I start missing them. I'm used to these people not being a regular part of my life. I don't expect to see them more often than I do. So, how much I miss a person has less to do with how much I care about them but rather how often I expect to see or talk to them.
And the guy I'm dating? He says, "I miss you," and I say, "I'm excited to see you again." I don't miss him that often. I think this is two-fold. First, we've never lived in the same city and I don't expect to see him more often than we see each other. If we continue dating and I move to another state (which I hope to do next year), then I'd miss him. I imagine that if we were to go a day without talking, then I would miss him. Second, this relationship is so new and I'm not diving in headfirst like I usually do with relationships, so I'm still not quite used to him being a regular part of my life. In the past year and a half since my last serious romantic relationship, I've become quite happy and content with the single life I've been given here. Back in the spring, I recognized that I was happy and though I wanted to date, I don't want a guy coming in and messing with all the good things I'm enjoying now. I realized that any guy I let into my life in a significant manner better really be worth it to let him in and let him start messing up my daily routines and future plans.
But isn't this horrible not to miss the guy I'm dating? Shouldn't romantic love be all-consuming? Shouldn't I be swept off my feet and can't stand to be away from him? Maybe. Probably not.