Monday, February 20, 2012

A Healthy Dose of Reality

Life’s Little (or not so little) Sacrifices:

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We’ve all made them – sacrifices in life that require giving something up, something that may on the surface seem impossible, overwhelming, not quite worth the hardship.  In the end, sacrifices can bring us to a point we could never have reached otherwise, prove very worth the hardship.  Yet, when presented with the choices involved in making sacrifices, it often seems difficult to know what is best.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that often what we must give up we have grown used to, hold a certain familiarity and comfort with.

I was offered an incredible opportunity last week.  After months of trying to decide where I would go to grad school, how I could possibly afford it, when I could attend, etc. I was accepted and offered a Teaching Assistantship – fully covered tuition, 13,000/yr stipend, an office, health insurance, - aka, a chance to be a big girl AND not have to worry about the cost of school.  I accepted, of course, and am beyond grateful, thanking my lucky stars that I have been given this generous offer.

Of course, like all things in life that bring with them the tides of change, this does not come without sacrifice.  And unfortunately, the sacrifices will have to come in one of the biggest and most important aspects of my life.

Eight years ago, I met a blonde haired blue eyed boy with a smile that has since never ceased to warm my heart.  We tumbled through years of friendship smattered with some romance and intimacy that crossed lines dividing true friendship from something else entirely.  Two years and a few months ago, we finally committed to one another and admitted that we were (and had likely always been) in love with one another.  What followed moved rapidly – there was no “getting to know one another” phase because we had been there, done that.  We made big promises and lots of forever plans.  Eight months ago, we moved in together.  We gave it no second thoughts (and hardly any first thoughts) -  we were both done college,  both of our leases were up anyway, we wanted to be together.  We didn’t discuss logistics, finances, various assimilations that come with combining two lives into one – we just did it.  As it was the first such step for either of us, problems were guaranteed to arise, and arise they did.  We spiraled through unemployment (for both of us, at different times), financial insecurity, moving, and various other big life changes that inevitably occur when college spits you out on the streets of an economically unstable world and asks that you rise to the occasion of adulthood.

Needless to say, the past eight months have been enormously difficult on both of us, as individuals and as a couple.  The past eight months have threatened to tear us apart in a way that eight years before it never did.  Questions we never thought we’d be asking have come up and forever seems to stand a little less stable than before. 

Graduate study will mean moving once more (we already have three times in the last 8 mos).  It will mean that we will no longer live together.  It will mean I will be devoting a huge portion of my time, energy, and passion to my studies and my work.  It will mean he will have to once again try to find work, a home, stability, connections.  And it will most assuredly test our relationship further.  I am terrified of such change, wondering what I will sacrifice to move one more step forward in the world.

But it is change I want.  It is an opportunity I am blessed to have.  It is a solidification of one of my biggest life goals – a Master’s degree leading in to a (hopefully) successful and sustaining career.  Will I lose things along the way?  Perhaps.  But I would like to think not the most important things.  Adjustments will be made.  Learning and adapting will be required.  I will have to put forth an effort to keep my relationship.  But the effort is inexplicably and unwaveringly worth it.

To be honest, there have been points in the last 8 mos where breaking up would have actually been easier.  Where it might even have made sense.  Where I wanted to turn and run.  Where I (still) feel incredibly vulnerable and intrepid.  But such is life and especially such is love. 

My semester begins in fall 2012.  Clearly, the two of us still have time to keep working out the kinks and hopefully to find the path that will most easily carry us into my two year commitment to the master’s program.  Exactly what will happen has yet to be determined, of course.  But I have true faith in the fact that two years from now, when I come out on the other end, I will be armed with far more knowledge, experience, and confidence not just from my schooling but form the life lessons I will learn along the way.  And I am most certainly ready to embrace those lessons and ride through the changes.


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