I'm at an interesting time in my life. Interesting for a number of reasons. Interesting because everything is so carefully in stasis now, because I've worked so hard to make it that way, and before long it's going to crumble, all of this stasis, all of this familiarity, and I don't know how I'm going to handle it.
I'm a junior in college right now. Which means that I've realized that I'm living in a bubble, and I'm trying to eke every last bit of ebullience out of it. I don't read the news (other than Slashdot and The Onion). I can stay up until 5 in the morning debating the relative worth of the philosophies of Immanuel Kant and Optimus Prime and nobody will think I'm odd. I'm learning my fourth language because I can, and considering learning Quenya for a Winter Term project. I go to a school where all of the potheads congregate under a huge tree in the middle of a quadrangle surrounded by dormitories when they want to sit in circles and pass bowls around, because they feel safer there than they do bagging a smoke detector in their rooms — and Campus Security personnel are instructed to ignore them and let them have their fun. I live and work and play in a place where we make fun of the jocks and hallow the nerds, where the permafrost sets in around November, but we still get 80° days, where we live on a steady diet of seitan and caffeine and Concerta and Flips and intellectualism, and I don't want it to end.
I'm in a relationship right now the likes of which I've never known before. If we're still together in a year, we'll most likely be talking about engagement. I have a hard time dealing with the fact that whereas three years ago I would never have been invited to anything and even the loser girls would not have relished the social repercussions of dating me, I'm now at least somewhat a member of a number of social circles and I've found somebody who also likes children's cartoons and old Nintendo games and Adult Swim and squirrels and Alfred Bester and by god is willing to give Battlefield 1942 a try if I like it so damn much. I'm in love in a way that makes me irritated when I hear other people call their crushes love, and I don't want it to end.
Next year, I'm going to start having to think about graduate school and my career(s). Even before then, I'm going to have to start thinking about a real job for the summer. I've spent the past three years teaching at a computer camp which, no matter how selective the hiring process is, and no matter how gifted the kids are, is still a summer camp. I've spent the past two years calling myself a freelance consultant and charging rich suburbanites out the nose to fix their computer problems, and somehow I have a gift for explanations and enough luck in the problems they present to me that they think I'm great and refer their friends to me. All this is necessarily going to turn into real life soon. I will have to get an internship or some other vaguely goferish position this summer and go to graduate school in a couple of years, because my liberal arts computer science degree isn't going to hold much water on its own.
This isn't to say that I don't want to go to graduate school. I like the idea of taking courses of a somewhat more technical nature than the touchy-feely huggy-wuggy sort that I've been taking to date. I like the idea of doing some sort of research that will somehow manage to end up giving something to the world that it doesn't have. I especially like the idea of staving off making real decisions for a while longer.
I also have a deal with my high school wherein I'm receiving a partial scholarship in exchange for which I'll teach (fully salaried but part-time work) in my field of expertise for a year after I graduate. This will be fun, because I can act like it's real life, but I'm really just going back home. Back home to live with my mother, but also back home to my high school, which for all of my vague mumblings earlier in this writeup was one of the most life-changing, enriching parts of my life. I guess pretentious private schools where you call teachers by their first names will do that to you. But I'll be the cute young twenty-something teacher, newly engaged and with a fresh look on life and computer science. I'll try to make the kids understand why I think the field is meaningful before disappearing and searching for meaning myself.
And after all of this? Life. Marriage, house, credit cards (I've been using debit all through college in an attempt to stay out of debt), car that can't be referred to as the Junkmobile, and whatever else comes along with the real life I'll carve out for myself.
And then fifteen years down the line I'll show up at a college reunion and we'll all regress and it'll be just like old times again, except that it won't last forever. The way it will now.