I'll be gone from that little island of not-tranquility that is my house in relatively short order, or maybe I won't. College living is expensive and while me and my best mate can joke about us moving in together now, when it actually comes down to it I'm not sure we could stand being roomies in his apartment. He has his own life to pursue and I have my own, I can't hang off of him forever. College itself will be daunting, with a work schedule I haven't properly experienced yet, but with it will come freedom I haven't properly known as well. With any luck, the scholarship competitions I have participated in will pay off and I'll get through college with minimal use of student loans. That'd be a dream, really.
From there I'll graduate with a bachelors of mechanical engineering, get a job, and hopefully start on my master's degree. Eventually I'll get it and secure a spot in the corporate world, going about my daily work as an engineer in an ever expanding technological world. Maybe I'll get married, maybe not. Maybe I'll have kids, maybe not. Somehow, I don't think I an anticipate either of those.
All of that is well and good, until I start thinking a bit more deeply on it. How many friends will I lose to college? How many of those I once knew will move, or simply stop talking with me? I could make new friends, and indeed, many see college as a chance to start all over. But starting over is something I've had plenty of. I've moved too many times now to care for it again. I've met good people here, people I'd hate to lose simply because of time. Yet, it will likely end up that way. There's not a whole lot you can do but try and save a few relationships.
And then there's my family. My ever supporting but ultimately flawed family. We intend to file for chapter seven bankruptcy after the first of the year; my family's debts have simply become too great to handle. Whether or not our problem with spending will go away is something uncertain. My father indulges in the expensive hobby of photography and my mother in the less expensive but quite bulky hobby of scrapbooking. She had at least a thousand dollars worth of paper in her room and more in other supplies and tools, exact estimates are hard to figure out. It's a serious problem and only time will tell how it'll go down.
This has, understandably, brought up some rifts in my parents' relationship, some pre-existing and others not. It's a strained time, and the possibility of divorce is a real one. I'm old enough that I could take the blunt of it and be fine; my sister, however, could not. She already suffers from some mental disabilities, and has a naive look on the world that stems from those, alongside the fact that saying she is sheltered is the understatement of the year. I can fend for myself in matters like this; she cannot, and as such, I have to try and do my best to keep her from just breaking under it all.
But some things I can't control, and this is one of them. I have no authority in this matter, and even after I become an adult in the eyes of the law, that won't change anything in my family life. I can only hope, then, that things get better. I know they won't, but hey, it can't hurt to at least hope.
So I'll go off to college, probably still living with my parents until the time comes that I have an internship of some sort to strike off on my own. I'll have less time and yet, paradoxically, more time to do the things I love. My best mate explained it to me this way; college is tough, and it definitely makes you think about what you do, and yet he can spend hours with his family, go down to Old Town and play his harmonica into the waning hours of the night, and visit with his girlfriend every day. The fact that they live together helps with the latter bit.
My schedule will change, and yet, I'll be able to do more things than I do now. I'll (hopefully) have a car that I can use to go places, something I'm utterly unable to do right now by virtue of living in the Kansas suburbs without so much as even a bike. I can visit people, places, spend time doing things that really matter. College will be long and hard but I'll be doing something I love, learning about things that can make a difference. Engineering is my passion and so, when I'm up at 2 AM in the morning trying to get that thesis done, I'll be able to remind myself why I'm doing it.
So I suppose that's what adulthood means to me. Nothing will magically change on my birthday, other than the ability to pay taxes and vote. College won't even change much. My family will still have problems, I'll still have to deal with problems. The difference will be that I can do my own thing, and love doing it. The difference is that while time will only continue to fly by, instead of filling my days with nothingness to be blotted out and replaced with something else when convenient, I'll be out making things happen. I don't know what things really, but I know I'll be doing something. I won't be sitting around the house ten hours a day wondering what I could try today. I'll be out there, maybe joining my best mate down at Old Town with my drums.
At any rate, it'll be an adventure. There's the curse that's suppose to be Chinese, for your life to be filled with excitement. A boring life may be the better one, but even worse is one that has the same problems day in and day out. Adulthood means change, college means change. I'd rather deal with the problems they bring than continue with the ones I've dealt with for years now.