the post with all the feelings

Yesterday was the first day of spring classes. Sure, our office is still hectic and most likely will be for the next several days as last-minute schedule changes are needed, but that's to be expected. At least we're finally coming out of the chaos.

In my year and a half with this college, and especially during my own academic career, I always look forward to the beginning of each semester or term. New pencils, unblemished folders and notebooks, new classes ... I like a fresh start, a clean slate. Everything seems filled with so much promise. Each new semester is filled with renewed energy and a sense of purpose.

But then fast forward to the middle of the semester, and I will totally want to hang myself.

I do not envy these college students in the slightest.

Although I must admit, I've been doing a lot research on online graduate programs. Why? I'm not sure I could even tell you. The idea of pursuing my Master's degree has been tapping me on the shoulder for years and the fact that I've started physically looking into it must mean I'm at least halfway serious about it. My employer offers tuition reimbursement and I've always had the mindset, "If I can do it, I should."

It probably comes as little surprise that I've been mostly looking into English program. I considered getting a Master's in Journalism, but since my interest lies primarily in writing, I don't know if that would be the best use of my time. (Although I would love to look into Media Law).

But really, what do I need a Master's degree for? I don't need a degree in English to write (although it couldn't hurt). A Master's isn't required for my specific career goals.

Although, if I had a Master's in English, I could teach English as an adjunct faculty member. And better yet, when Clayton and I finally decide we want to spawn, I could teach online classes and have the flexibility to work at home while caring for our little ones.

I dunno, maybe my search into grad school is primarily motivated by fear or uncertainty about the future. When I was completing my Bachelor's degree at IU, the idea of continuing my education never crossed my mind. I don't think it's a coincidence that I've started seriously considering a Master's after my 28th birthday. The closer I get to the 30, the more nights I find myself laying awake in bed at night and staring at the ceiling, wondering why I haven't been more proactive in pursuing the life I really want.

Clayton and I have actually had several "talk me down from the ledge" conversations over the past few months because everything about adulthood and the future is maxing me an anxious mess. When I was a teenager, I thought time moved at a glacial pace and it seemed like I would never get to be an adult. Now I'm an adult and all I want is for life to slow down for a few seconds so I can catch my breath. I still think I'm 18 years-old. How could I possibly be 28 already!?

And I know I've written openly about these kinds of feelings before, but guess what? They still haven't gone away. No matter how happy and comfortable I am in my life (and trust me, I am very much so), I still can't shake the gnawing truth that I'm not going to be young forever, I'm going to have to have kids one day, I'm going to experience increasing amounts of loss, and I'm eventually going to die.

I don't know why I'm so terrible at rolling with the punches and taking everything in stride. Clayton talks a lot about aging gracefully and taking life as it comes, and despite being grateful that his calm balances my crazy, sometimes his cavalier attitude pisses me off.

But only sometimes.

Because I'm eternally thankful for his quietude; it's what tethers me to the ground and prevents me from floating away in a bubble of self-induced panic. So no matter what, at least I know I'm navigating life with the right partner.

Just last night, when Clayton was telling me goodnight, I mentioned that I was experiencing some pain in my left forearm. Without even thinking about it, he took my arm, kissed it, and rubbed it for several minutes while I tried to fall asleep. It was such a tiny gesture, but it was full of love and affirmation that despite what I might think and despite all of the times when life is pointing to the contrary, things will always be okay.

And there will always be far more things to celebrate and look forward to than to fear.

And that I would be a raging hot mess without my husband.

And that I should really stop lying on my side while I watch Netflix on my Kindle because my arm falls asleep and my forearm starts to hurt.