Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hopes and fears

Well, it's finally here. Tomorrow begins my final semester at Pitt. I think I've exhausted every corny metaphor for finality, so I'll leave those alone. Regardless, thinking about things later rather than sooner has dramatically reversed itself. Suddenly, the end is in 4 months not 12 or 24. What have I accomplished over the past 3 and 1/2 years? Have I left the country? Check. Cooked for myself? Check. Learned out how to survive on my own? Uh...jury is still out on that one. I've gotten educated, I think. There have been ups and downs. I've seen moments of pure bliss and periods of sheer terror. All in all, I am not who I was when I left high school. I used to think I knew it all, but I now know I was definitely wrong. Life isn't easy, and it also isn't what you expect. But what did I expect and what do I hope for and fear now? Am I Thom Yorke seeking "no alarms and no surprises"? Or Pete Townshend hoping "to die before I get old"? Time will tell I guess.

The reality is I didn't expect to be sitting here the day before my final semester trying to figure out what in the world I'll be doing after graduation. Honestly, I figured that I'd have a grad school lined up and paid for or a job for the taking. But I don't and it bothers me. I tell people that I like doing things on a whim, but that's always been more of an act than truth. In actuality, I like the continuity that comes out of having things planned out. Before I go somewhere I obsessively study the layout out of where I'm going so that I'm always in control of the situation. Unfortunately, no map is offered that provides a layout for life. This has always been a problem for me, but it has compounded over time. Furthermore, by now I expected, or at least really hoped, I'd be in a functional relationship with an intelligent, caring, and potentially marriageable girl. This hasn't happened, and I spend a decent amount of time and thought trying to figure out why. Usually this leads me to blame myself--but I don't think that's helpful or fair. I don't think that anyone wants to be alone, in fact I fear it, but it isn't like I want to have a relationship to save myself from boredom or loneliness. Is it too noble, or overly naive--maybe stupid--to be more concerned with someone else's happiness than your own? Or, in different phrasing, to increase your own happiness by deriving additional joy from watching happiness in someone else. The wording may be slightly off, but the idea is this. I want to have a relationship with a girl tht benefits them infinitely more than it benefits me. This isn't intended in the sense of the male as "conquering hero and provider" but rather as a supporter and encourager. I want my wife to have the freedom to do what she loves, set up the house as she sees fit, etc. As long as she is happy I'll be happy. I know it sounds cliche and kind of lame--but I mean it. So what do I hope for after college? For starters: a job. It's somewhat of a necessity. However, beyond that, all I hope to do is find a functional relationship, get married, find a place and start a family. I'm not interested in living just for myself anymore. But I'll take a quiet life with "no alarms and no surprises," although I'd like to live to be quite old. Oh and kids, I'd like some.

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