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July 02, 2004 1:26 p.m.

I wrote last time about how I feel like I'm coming into a new phase in my life. I am still feeling that way, even moreso perhaps.

Do you ever get the feeling where you just sense that things are ready to change? I feel that way about everything, that it's just ready to transition. Within the last few years I have accomplished things I really needed to accomplish. Sometimes I felt extremely frustrated, sometimes I felt depressed, sometimes I didn't trust where fate (or God) was leading me. But I feel like I've really grown up and that I am closing in on the end of the transition I had to make. The high school girl to the college girl. It was a beautiful transition, rough on the edges but pure and sincere at the core. I feel things differently now, I think. I have a greater understanding and acceptance of the way things are. I think I have finally learned that while I cannot control everything, I can make choices for myself that will help me follow the path I want to be on.

This isn't to say that I have a complete understanding of everything - do we ever? But I understand enough to know that it's time to strive for something more, to push myself into new goals and new challenges that will make me the woman I want to be. I understand the world, but what I really understand is my world. I want to travel. It is something that scares the absolute crap out of me, but I think that I need to do it. I need to just do it. I want to find inner peace, the kind of inner peace you feel when you've hiked to the top of that mountain and you're gazing over the amazing British Columbia landscape and you just think, I have made it this far. I am here.

It's hard to describe how proud I am of myself. I am just so proud of every stage of my life, every hardship I pulled through, and the fact I am sitting here right now. I am proud of my existence.

I am at a strange point with my love life however. With the boyfriend coming home in 4 weeks, my mind is starting to race in a million directions. I want to fall in love, in true, real love, the kind of love where you just know you have the person by your side forever. I want that so badly. But at the same time, I'm having all of these feelings about my whole need for change, my need to transition, my need to gain even more independence. I feel like I want to get away from here, which is poorly timed with him coming home after a 6 month getaway. If our timing isn't right, does that mean it's not meant to be?

I'm scared of falling into my typical girlfriend role and abandoning everything I'm speaking of now. Dismissing my travelling goals because I will be too scared to leave him. Revolving my life around him and our relationship.

One thing that helps retain some sense in me is that I know I have sacrificed a lot already for us. If he wants to be with me when he comes home, I honestly think I deserve some special attention. I deserve to be loved and cherished, because I have been good over the past six months and I feel no shame in saying that. Sure, I had my moments of paranoia and anger, but who wouldn't? Not only did I stay completely loyal to him because I wanted to, I supported him the whole way through, sent him comforting emails whenever he expressed confusion over anything, I laughed at his stories, I gave insight into decisions he was facing. I tried not to push for him to come home, and I tried my best to never make him feel guilty for leaving me. But the fact is, he did leave me. I try not to be angry, because it is just not fair to him to be angry for him following his dreams. I admire his bravery and I am proud of him for doing it. But I think I should be appreciated for handling being "the one left behind" the way that I did.

Some girlfriends freak out when their boyfriend is gone for two weeks. One of my friends recently had her boyfriend go to Europe for one month and she got so depressed and freaked out so badly that she actually broke up with him before he even came home. She speaks of his time away as if it was horribly long, it was a whole 33 days. I feel proud that I have now gone 160 days and I am sitting here smiling, thinking of how I can't wait to hear him tell me everything about Australia and Thailand, how I can't wait to see his pictures, hear his voice. I can't wait to see what he has learned, to see if his adventure helped him grow. Maybe I am already on the verge of true love, I don't know. But I know that a lot of girlfriends would not have been as supportive as I was about their boy packing his bags and leaving for an indefinite amount of time.

I like to think I understand people better than I used to. We all have our own dreams, things we've had on our minds since we were children even. Places we've wanted to go and can't even explain why. People need the freedom to do what they feel is right in their heart. I think I am finally coming to realize that love isn't about feeling tied down, it's about feeling free and still choosing to be with that person simply because it is what you want.

I always wanted to be a supportive girlfriend, and I always wanted to follow my heart. I think I am heading into a good place. When he left, I wrote him a goodbye letter for the very last night I saw him. The last thing I wrote was,"I want you to do everything and see everything you can, and if that means staying longer, you definitely should. Because you know what they say...if you love something, let it go. If it was meant to be it will come back to you when it's supposed to".

I think I wrote that letter wisely.

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