Commitment. Cohabitation. Two really big words, really big deals.
I have had experience with the former, but that was back in college. Something about being in college, living at home with parents or in college housing, and being in a relationship seems so much smaller now that I have some life experience behind me. Back then I could have sworn that we would get married right out of college and have a life together. But people and things change and so do your plans. Retrospection is a marvelous thing and I cannot even begin to imagine how my life would have turned out if I had stayed in that relationship - or in Illinois for that matter.
As for the latter, I have had no experience at all until very recently.
It all started one day in March. My boyfriend and I were driving to my parents' house and he turned to me and asked if I wanted to move in with him. I had no time to process this or even respond because then we pulled into their driveway.
I began to think about it though. Moving in together would be a big step. Would I be ready?
Nothing more was said about it until the beginning of April. Again we were driving and he asked me if he should start looking at apartments for himself and his dog or if we would want to look at apartments together.
Three weeks ago we moved into the very first, and only, apartment we went through.
I have to say that my very first experience of moving in with someone has been pretty great so far. It was the actual moving process that wasn't exactly my favorite. After living alone in a fairly big apartment for three years, a gal can acquire quite a bit of "stuff." I was really amazed and frightened by the amount of stuff I had. Somehow though, over the course of about two weekends, I managed to pack the things that we would need for sure like kitchen appliances, dishes, towels, and so on. Then there was the whittling down of my own personal stuff. I managed to get rid of about three boxes of shoes, which, if you know me, was a huge deal. In all I loaded the back of my parents' Durango with boxes of stuff for their church garage sale and threw out about 10 (that's a minimal estimation) boxes of trash.
Something clicked when I was packing all of my stuff up. This could quite possibly be the last time I lived alone. We have been together for five months and I already know that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. Moving in together is a very big step in making that more of a reality. I know that now a new life of "our stuff" and compromise is beginning.
Amy Gaisford can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.