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For the last couple of weeks, Clarisse (my best friend in law school) and I have been catching weddings after our class ends on Saturday evenings. We started attending anticipated Mass together, and for about how many consecutive weeks now, we've been crashing the ceremony - or at least the picture-taking after - as uninvited, but quite delighted guests. The Mass doesn't start until 6, and our class ends at around 5 or 5:30, and since the College of Law is just a street away from the UP Chapel, we always get there just in time to catch the bride and groom walking down the aisle for the first time as man and wife, with petals and confetti ushering them out.

We would always just sit at the back, watch as the guests excitedly take pictures with the newlyweds; the bride and groom's immediate families first, then the extended ones, then the high school friends, then the college friends... and the list goes on. At first, it was, for us, just a matter of critiquing the choice of gowns and motif, then it progressed to creating the couples' possible back-stories, until it went to the inevitable What-About-Us? kind of talk.

It's funny because, for people like us who are estopped from having any possible major life changes for at least the next three or four years of our lives, we were suddenly forced to really think about our futures, and what would become of us. There we were, two law students just having survived a 10 am - 5 pm marathon (straight! No breaks in between!), having no time at all for social life or any other possible life outside law school, and yet somehow, realizing what lies ahead for us outside the walls of Malcolm. "That could be us in the next five, six years or so," we quipped.

For the last five years of my life, I've never seriously thought of myself as being somebody's wife. I couldn't imagine myself getting married. I couldn't picture myself sharing anything permanently with anyone ever - and this is not the selfish, spoiled only-child in me talking. (Because I'd like to believe I'm not selfish and I don't think I was ever spoiled.) I just... I just never thought of getting married as being THE most important thing in life. It wasn't a priority, and it was never a goal. In fact, I almost always shoved the thought in a locked drawer inside my head - no, you know, actually, I think I pushed it out of my head completely. It was too early. It was too big. It wasn't something to worry about yet. When people ask me the dreaded, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" I always answer: "In law school." And that's it. That's just how far I'd allow myself to consider the future. Sure, travel and shopping using my own money is part of it too. But it was always on the context of, "After law school." Law school was the immediate future.

Law school was my excuse to not think about that. Now, here I am, already in law school.

Well, it's not like lately I've been thinking about getting married right after law school, nope. Nope. No, thank you. (That's still not a likely possibility, given the amount of books and places and shoes and clothes I have yet to pamper myself with.)

But it's just that for some reason, the weddings we've been "attending" lately have done nothing but ask the same question: "Where do you see yourself going?" More importantly: "Do you even see yourself going here?" - with the bouquets and the red carpet down the aisle practically shouting it to my face.

It's actually a question that's been popping up lately, and not just because of the weddings. The other night, while having dinner after class, my friends and I got to talking about how we've gotten tired of the notion of "dating." It seems like law school has tired us out too much already, that we couldn't possibly think of even playing mindgames anymore with anyone else. (Well, I can't say the same for all law students, considering that we have a lot of blockmates who are still very much into playing The Game, with a beer in hand, a chick on the other.) We realized that we're already at this age where we could possibly be meeting our future spouses, and it wouldn't be creepy or clingy. It actually is a realistic conjecture. Five or so years from now, we'll be 27 or 28. 29. We could be married. That's insane.

Normally, I'd be freaking out. I'd shut that door right away. There's the next two-and-a-half years of law school to worry about first, and the Bar. In fact, I don't even know if I can get through this semester's finals. And yet I find myself sitting at the back of that church every Saturday and being not-weird about thinking of what life would be like outside all this.

Is this what it means to grow up? Opening yourself up to a possible (and quite realistic) future, and accepting it? Or at the very least, considering it?

Because I saw a glimpse of what the future could look like, and who could be standing next to me, and now I can't stop looking, I can't. I don't want to.