"Grow Old With Me, The Best Is Yet To Be"

    Ever since I started my blog, I've wanted to write about my emotions, experiences, and who I am as a person. I want to write about things I feel passionate about, because sometimes I can't express all of what I want to convey through photos.

    So, I believe it's time for me to get my sap on, because I want to talk about my best friend and my most favorite human; Austin.

    For those of you who don't know, Austin is my boyfriend, and we've been dating for a little over 9 months now. I met him in the late summer of 2016 while working at my previous job at a thrift store. I knew him as the guy who liked cameras, his white '99 Toyota Tacoma, and country music. He was my friend and co-worker, but I didn't think of him as anything more, partly because I was interested in someone else at the time. We had gotten together with other co-workers outside of work a few times, and once we had started doing that, I had started to pick up on something about Austin. I had no idea what it was at the time, and I don't think I was even fully aware of it, but it was definitely there. This new feeling, so subtle and quiet, like a little whisper that you knew you heard but had no idea where it came from. He was just different, in a good way.

    Once he had left that job around November of 2016, we hardly saw each other. We remained connected on Facebook and Instagram, and most of our friend group stayed connected as well. I went through the following months with my emotions fixated on someone else, and just dealing with what life was throwing at me. When I was visiting my Aunt in Missouri for Thanksgiving, I remember sending Austin a picture of the quantity of photos I was importing onto my computer (if you're a photographer, you can probably guess that I was importing hundreds of photos). We had little interactions here and there, all of those being purely platonic on my end. 

    It wasn't until April 2017 that we started talking to each other regularly. He had posted one of those "Like for a TBH" photos on Instagram, saying that he was on his way to South Dakota for a wedding and that he was bored on his drive. Purely for entertainment, I liked his post. Later that night, he sent me a message telling me that he missed me and everyone else at the thrift store we all worked at. He complimented my photography, said he hoped I could make a career out of it, and that we should go on a photoshoot together sometime. I remember the excitement I felt while talking to him, as our conversation moved to where we would like to travel to and him telling me about his trip that he was on at the time. The conversation ended with him asking for my phone number, and me giving it to him. Later on he told me that out of all the other people that liked his post, I was the only one he messaged. 

    From that night, we started to message each other every day on Snapchat. A part of me wishes that those had been text conversations instead, so that I would be able to look back and read them, but those messages disapearing makes them more special in a way. We would ask each other how our days were, what we were up to, and other random stuff. We gradually started saying good morning and good night to each other, and opening up to each other. I remember on the 4th of July, I spent the evening having an anxiety attack, and when I told him about it later that night, he comforted me and was so sweet. I appreciated him for always being there for me as a friend first, wether he had feelings for me at that point or not. 

    Later on that summer, we went on two road trips together. The first was Roman Nose, and the second was Mount Scott, which will forever go down in the history of our relationship as the time where we both knew we liked each other. We weren't dating at that point, but it felt so natural to be around him and I felt the urge to hold his hand multiple times but I had to stop myself. I just remember having such a fun time with him, and I had never felt that with anyone else.

    In the months since we started dating in August, we have been learning more about each other, and letting our love for each other grow endlessly. The day that we made things official, he was leaving the state for work. From the very start, he had been traveling, welding and installing cat-walks for Valvolines. I don't think that we both had any idea what kind of effect that would have on our relationship, but everything happened the exact way it was supposed to happen. For 9 months, we went anywhere from three or four days to a week of him being home before having to leave again for one to two weeks. That might not seem all that bad, but it really did take a toll on our emotions. It was definitely hard and challenging, but I don't blame Austin for any of it. He was my rock during it all, always keeping his head up and his hopes high. He told me over and over that we had to stay strong, and that he would be home before I knew it. He promised me that it wouldn't last forever, that he wanted to be home with me and for me, and that we had to trust in God's plan for us. He started looking into other job opportunities, and finally landed one with the local district's public schools maintenance crew. Around that same time, he was able to get approved for an apartment for him to move into that is later going to ours once we get married. Amidst all of the phone calls, paperwork, and errands he had to run, he told me that he felt like everything was finally falling into place.

    We've learned so much about each other's personalities, and not just the good parts, but the darker parts too. He is soooo patient and caring towards me while I'm having a bad day, or a really bad anxiety attack, or feeling very low about life and blaming myself for things that I have no control over. He tells me exactly what I need to hear, and offers up all the hugs and forehead kisses I need to make me feel loved. He's watched me cry, shake, and push myself away from everything, but he stays there and brings me back to him and back to everything that matters to me. He has such a big heart, and a strong work ethic. He is fair, and follows his heart while never discounting the logic of the situation. And he is perfect for me. 

    Recently I was talking to a friend of mine about Austin and I's relationship. She asked if it was hard being in a long distance relationship, and I told her that yes, it was hard on us, but it was totally worth it. I explained that we were tested since the start of our relationship, and that it only made us stronger and we learned to really appreciate the time that we did spend together. I wouldn't take back a second of those nine months, from the dressing up to go on our first date, to our first very awkward kiss on the scissor tail bridge, to spending Christmas together, to all the laughs and smiles, to the hugs goodbye, and the crying on the phone, it has all been worth it. 

    He's finally home now, and we're both happy for him to be back. We can't wait to spend many many more days together, and grow old together.