Words by: Juliette Capomolla Art by: Gabrielle Poh
For some unbeknownst reason, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon my long-term partner at the age of 16. Young, naive, and desperate for that Wattpad fanfic-like love story, it only took us a few dates to couple up, and only a month or so to say that L-word. Four years later, at the good old age of 20, my boyfriend and I are still going strong.
Needless to say, these adolescent/young adult years of our lives are rather formative. Let’s think—I finished school which had been my entire existence for 13 years, started university with thousands of strangers, began thinking about what it is I want to be doing for 38 hours per week for the rest of my life, oh and did I mention figuring out who I actually am and who I want to be? You know, just the small, frivolous things in life.
But there’s something kind of special about doing all of this with someone else. I’m lucky enough to have a great group of friends and a loving family, but am also so incredibly blessed to also have my Mr. Darcy along for the ride, too.
Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs. When he graduated school the year before I did, I thought: “that’s it, we’re screwed”. And then when I began uni, I foolishly thought I might have some grand awakening and become a whole new person (isn’t that what the movies tell you is going to happen?). Needless to say, none of these things managed to crack our tight unit, and perhaps made us even stronger as a pair.
There’s a lot I have to credit to my boyfriend for the person I am today. I mean, how can a partner of four years, around in some of the most developmental stages of your life (you know, besides like ages zero to five), not have a lot to do with the person you grow to be? He’ll probably tell you that the best thing he’s done for me is reintroduce me to liking seafood (food is probably the biggest bond in our relationship). But, if you were to strip away his modesty and desire to be an amateur stand-up comedian, he’d probably tell you that he’s taught me patience. He’s taught me to not care about what other people think (although I think that he can do with taking his own advice sometimes). He’s taught me how to be unapologetically proud of myself (can I reiterate the parentheses above?). He’s taught me that I can lean on somebody else and that I’m strong enough for someone else to lean on me. But I think most of all, he’s taught me how to love and be loved intimately.
Growing up in love is interesting. We all know the likelihood of high school sweethearts actually going the distance is low—I’m well aware. And then there’s the fact that I am only 20, and he is only 22. I would be lying if I said these facts don’t weigh on my shoulders when I think about our future. But that’s just it, we’re still growing up in love. And so in the same way we’ve done for the past four years, we will continue to help shape each other’s futures and push each other upwards and onwards,whether that ends up with us together or not.