Setting the world on fire.

I’ve now been hard at work for two full weeks…only to have my schedule change with classes starting tomorrow!  I love the office that I work in, my supervisor is fabulous and fun, and with students on campus everything feels more energized (or maybe that’s just the sense of reckless confusion mixed with the sweet smell of stressed out academic advisors).  Also, supervising a student staff feels great.  They are so excited and motivated to do their jobs, and I couldn’t ask for more reliable students to work with.

I am nervous for classes to begin.  Sure, I can handle my job when that’s all I have to focus on, but graduate level courses add whole new challenges to my time-management capabilities.  At least I’ll have some work to fill the more lonesome times!

Being away from Mr. Photographer is manageable…we are both very dedicated to the well-being of each other and our relationship.  But saying goodbye to him after a visit…that’s where I struggle.  The most difficult moment is walking back into my apartment after he’s driven away.  Things are quiet, his things are gone, there are dishes in the sink, and I am suddenly very aware of how alone I am.  But my independent spirit hasn’t failed me yet, and having a fulfilling job and work that demands my attention certainly helps.

I did read a quotation yesterday that has been on my mind:

“Absence is to love as wind is to fire; It extinguishes the small and kindles the great.”
          —  Roger de Bussy-Rabutin

I find this to be beautiful, absolutely true, and much more powerful than the usual ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ business.  When you’re apart from someone you love, you don’t want to waste precious time sweating the small stuff.  Time together or conversing is precious.  The meaning of “being a couple” comes to be defined by the big picture stuff, foregoing petty arguments and trivial attitudes (extinguishing the small).

The beautiful thing (the great that has been kindled) from this challenge we have taken on is that when it’s over, we will be fully prepared to take on the world together.  If we can cope, communicate, trust, problem-solve, grow, and display appreciation for one another because of and in spite of distance, we are maturing together and gaining skills we’ll use to work through any obstacle life throws our way.  Hanging onto these thoughts and feelings is how I make it from visit to visit.

Speaking of visits…the next will be our one-year anniversary!  Thank you to everyone who has loved and supported us so far in this journey.  We’re just getting started and it just keeps getting better!

“Not all those who wander are lost.” -J. R. R. Tolkien

Time to break in this new blog, don’t you think?

This is probably the last post I’ll make from Nebraska. I say probably, because while I’d like to think visits to Mr. Photographer will include endless hours of dinner dates, cuddling on the couch, and him showering me with attention, the reality is…the guy likes his video games.  But as of Monday, my permanent location will be Lawrence, Kansas. If I don’t already have your address, you should make sure I get it soon, so I can send you a “look at my new address and computer skills!” card in the snail mail!

Up until recently, most of my stresses concerned things like: What if I can’t talk to Mr. Photographer for a whole week?!What if I get lost on campus?!; and What is the dress code in my office?!  Now, I’ve focused my energy on more realistic concerns, like the general notion that I will soon be a graduate student and assistant, navigating the water on the other side of the desk, challenging myself academically, and being expected to advise undergraduates on major academic and life matters…um, what?!

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

No quoting of Spider-Man. Be mature.

I wonder when I’ll truly feel like an adult.  Part of my issue is that I’ll always be a child at heart. The other part is that I remember my first year of undergrad like it’s a bad dream I had just last night.  Since I’ll be working almost exclusively with first-year students, that will probably lend an ear of empathy to the issues I know they will encounter.  But it also makes it harder for me to make the transition, because I don’t feel very removed from that time in my own life.  Concerns like these are ones that will only be dispelled with time, education, and practice. I’ll get there.

Right now, I have a move to worry about.  This will be the first time in my life I’ve lived on my own, paid monthly bills, and gone to work and class every day on a consistent schedule. Luckily, I thrive on habits, patterns, and schedules, so I suspect I will enjoy it for a while.  The new scenery will be a distraction from some of the feelings of loneliness I know I will encounter.  I know I have the right people in my life to help me through it, but being geographically distant from all of them adds a new level of nerves to the change.  Having Mr. Photographer staying for the first week (thank you, Doane bosses) will be wonderful. Having my dad and him go at the same time, leaving me “all on my own” would have been a bit much for me!

Above all, I know that this next step is something I NEED to do.  For my personal and professional growth, securing a future for my family, and learning everything I can (either a compulsion or a necessity, or both).  On top of that, I WANT to do it.  I am ready for new places and faces, and to begin to grow into a capable adult who is knowledgeable about and potentially influential in my field.  I am an innately passionate person, but I have never felt so passionate about a life choice.  I am certain I am meant to do this with my life, and through all the stress and worry, I am comforted by that thought. (I’ll refer to this post when I’m toiling over my textbooks on a Friday night.)

One minute I’m a bundle of nerves and can’t stop worrying about it, the next I’m enjoying my last few days in Nebraska, drinking wine with my second family and not even thinking about it.  Then I get in my car and I can’t see out the back window, and the process starts over! I’ve learned a lot about myself and about others in the past few years of undergrad, and I am certainly ready for something bigger and better.  But no matter how you feel about a place, there are things that make any change bittersweet.  I’ll take a mental snapshot for my scrapbook.  Life is waiting.