High Tide

This post is coming to you live from a beach in the Outer Banks!

Well, unfortunately, it isn’t “live” live. I’m not the kind of person to risk taking a laptop literally to the ocean. But the following words were originally scribbled into a notebook by hand with my feet buried in North Carolina sand.

This morning, my boyfriend and I walked out of the vacation condo we’ve been staying in for the past few days. After a short kiss, he turned to head left, toward the ocean, and I turned to the right, toward the sound. Moving alongside the water, I walked alone to Duck’s Cottage, a quaint little books-and-coffee shop just off of Currituck Sound. I ordered an iced mocha, a summertime must-have at any new coffee shop I happen to find myself at, and floated from seat to seat until settling into a small table in the corner. I pulled my tablet out of my beach bag, logged onto my work account for the first time, and quickly set to work on training initiatives for my new part-time job.

In that moment I realized for the first time just how strange my life has become in these past few months. I’m really at a weird crossroads. I’m approaching the six month mark in my first adult relationship. I’m on a trip with a significant other for the first time. I’m sharing a bed with a significant other for the first time. Hell, I’m even freaking out over my romantic future for the first time, too. Various family members have made comments (albeit through back channels) inquiring into the seriousness of my relationship or insinuating that they want to spend more time with me before they “lose” me. Is that my punishment for being the youngest grandchild? Everyone just forgets I’m 24, not 34, and assumes I’m marrying the first person I’ve dated as an adult?

They’re all assuming I’m thinking about marriage when all I’m really thinking about is grad school.

My training exercises for my new job have me more excited for my professional future than ever before. All of the tasks I’m doing in training remind me of working in the campus writing center and have reminded me just how much I love writing center work. How much I CARE about writing center work. And, even though it is only part-time and even though it actually hasn’t even started yet, this little job has reaffirmed everything I’ve learned about myself in the past year and a half. It has reaffirmed that pursuing a PhD in rhetoric and composition with a focus in writing center studies is exactly what I want to do in the not-so-distant future.

My life is at a crossroads, and there are several paths that branch out from this new and confusing junction. Where will time lead me? Maybe this time next year, I will be back on this very beach with him at my side, a year and a half into our relationship. Maybe this time next year I’ll be gearing up to move upstate, or to Indiana, or to Tennessee. Maybe both will occur simultaneously. Maybe I will get into a doctoral program right away. Maybe I won’t. Maybe we’ll get married someday, and maybe we’ll break up. I have no idea what the future holds. For now I’ll just have to live in the moment and let the anxieties of possibilities wash away with the high tide.

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