One of my last semesters in college is almost over with, and I feel pretty happy with finally being able to, as Mom keeps saying, "see the light at the end of the tunnel." I think her optimism is in the family blood; I'm feeling more confident that, yes, graduation is possible. Senioritis hit me about two years ago, and it hit even harder last semester when I had to learn how to juggle my job with my classes. This semester seems a little less stressful, but I'll be just as happy to get it over with as I did in the winter.
As graduation draws nearer, my plans for life are falling into place. (It seems vague to say "life," but I'm learning to deal with how plans for the future are pretty vague most of the time anyway.)
My very last semester of college will consist of three English classes, all of which I have charted out at this point. My summer is going to be taken up by working more full-time hours again, and I'm hoping to turn part of my hours into an internship that's required for my English major. Turning a few hours into the internship will save me a lot of stress during the school year. In fact, I was worried I would have to somehow drop something in order to fit the internship in, but it looks like everything is working out for the best after all!
The best part about this whole working hard thing is planning for what I want to do after graduation. Shawn and I are currently working (and saving money for) an apartment for in a few months. Since Kathleen will be coming to live with Beth when she starts going to our university, Shawn and I decided it would be best if we started to branch off into our own little world. A few years ago, I would have thought moving in with a boyfriend was a big step, probably because of all the hype from silly TV shows and dramas. Honestly though, I've learned that a step like that can be simple if a couple is ready for it and really wants to progress in a relationship. This September will mark my six year anniversary with Shawn so planning for the future isn't just a plan; it's what I've been working towards for a good chunk of my life.
Shawn told me something that meant a lot to me the other day. Now, I'm not the one for mushy statements. We were standing in the kitchen making dinner together a few weeks ago, and we had been discussing something about his job. I think he was complaining about a few assignments he was given to do, so I turned to him and asked how he could put up with some of the tasks that his everyday job demanded of him. He turned to me and said, "Well, I do it for you. Actually, everything I do is for you." Hearing that made my mind wind back to a few years ago when he told me that if we hadn't started dating, he would have joined the army. He felt that he didn't have anything else to do in life so he thought he would try to look for meaning in some other form of work. Something like that didn't seem so profound to me until I casually told Mom about it during one of our conversations. She told me that a guy telling his girlfriend that says that he's living for that girl. And it's true. Shawn letting go of certain things in his life and choosing to work an office job would have never happened if we hadn't started dating. He's chosen to live his life with me, and everything he does-- from running to the store for soda because I have a caffeine headache to keeping a desk job and working long hours-- is for me.
I've thought about what Shawn has done for me a lot. So now, I feel like I have a reason for graduating and working towards finishing college. Even with all this busy work going on now, at least I know that something good is coming out of all of this. After we stay at our apartment for about six months (so until I graduate), we're going to be finding a really nice apartment and then save up for a house. Jokingly one day, we started to look at house ads online. After we browsed some beautiful homes, I realized that a beautiful home in a safe neighborhood is something that I do want to work for, even if it means working this hard. Who knew a future was possible? I didn't, until recently.
And sometime after we graduate, and some more time after we live together, we'll decide to take the next step. Marriage is an idea that many, many people have asked us about over the years. In fact, I think everyone else is eager to hear about a wedding announcement from us, but we've just decided to take things easy-- one step at a time. We're planning though, and we've found that confidence in our relationship is our marriage to each other. An official engagement will come in time. For now, all I need is this pretty amazing reality we're facing together. It's a pretty damn good reason to keep working and living.
And that's pretty much where I'm at right now...