Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Change in status

I looked up and realized that I had just spent the last three hours remodeling a kitchen I don’t even own. Pictures of cabinets, countertops, and flooring now litter my desktop. We put an offer in on a house today - a daunting and exciting process. Daunting to realize how much time, sweat, and money will go into renovations to make the place ours but exciting to also realize we are – making the place ours. Having lived in apartments for the last ten years, I’ve gotten used to the sort of transient way of life. There are boxes still crammed into the backs of closets that remain unpacked from our last move over six years ago. In an apartment, one always anticipates another move. You don’t live in an apartment permanently; it is a transition. And at this point in our lives, moving into a house is symbolic of a much larger sort of transition.

Apartment living has always signaled that either my husband or I (or both) were students, unsure of where we would be following the degree. But since my husband finished his doctoral degree last May and was offered a full-time (paid!) position starting in August, we’re moving out of the student lifestyle, an anxiety-provoking prospect. Our entire married lives we’ve been connected to institutions of higher learning; we’ve always been students. We have always known one another as students. And although both of us will continue to take classes here and there, we’ve moved out of the status of full-time students. As we move from temporary housing to a permanent residence, it singles a change in our relationship as well. We’ll both have real jobs, two incomes…gasp…we’re adults!

I realize that this is a bit of a delayed realization. I think in some ways my husband and I have resisted this change in status – student to employee, apartment dweller to home owner. As students we are free to try on new ideas, take risks, be unabashedly idealistic. I am perhaps a bit afraid of losing that which has defined me to date. So I think the trick with this move, this transition, will be to embrace the change in residential status, but try to retain some of that mindset of a student – to continue to grapple with new ideas, try new things, and be unabashedly hopeful and idealistic.

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