It’s been just over two weeks since I dropped Anya off at the Vancouver Airport, and started living a bachelor’s life. Michael Jordan posters are back up on the wall, just beside the Nerf basketball hoop on the door. New pizza stains on the couch are hidden by a strategically placed Mexican blanket. Clean shirts go from one end of the sofa to the other as they get progressively dirtier. Pizza boxes and empties litter the apartment. By “empties” I mean empty wine bottles, because c’mon, I’m not a Philistine. That’s the progression in just 16 days.
I have about 200 more to go.
Anya is currently in Africa, putting some finishing touches on her Master’s Degree. On Wednesday she flies to Kathmandu, Nepal for a six month Junior Professional position with the United Nations. She’ll be assessing the various capacity-building programs the UN has in place in rural Nepal. And she’ll be doing that for six months.
And now for the question on everyone’s mind, say it with me, “Are you going to visit her?” No, I’ll be staying right here. Why? Because in terms of the larger picture, my continued growth and development, staying home is the best thing for me, ironically enough. I’ve relied on Anya a lot since the car accident, especially early on, but the end goal, our end goal, has always been for me to be entirely self-sufficient again. For a while, I needed Anya to take care of certain life duties for me, areas where my brain simply wasn’t up to the task, and I didn’t have a choice. Unfortunately, this also meant Anya didn’t have a choice. Make no mistake, she was more than willing to do so, but even the most heartfelt willingness pales compared to the grace and beauty of one choosing to serve another, even if the end result is the same. When that explicit need for assistance is no longer there, the opportunities for us to put each other first expand to all areas of life. And we are all about that.
Some have expressed concern about the relational dangers of being apart for so long. Today, we have Skype for video chats, Gmail for written correspondence, and Facebook for photos to make the distance shorter, but even without these I wouldn’t be concerned about the survival of our relationship. Perhaps it’s because of what we went through immediately post-accident. Maybe this is one of those “good” things to come out of it. The issues we faced back then forced us to develop strong habits of communication. As a result, we’ve established an unshakable commitment to each other and unwavering trust in each other. The stakes were highest then, and everything we’ve seen and gone through since is child’s play in comparison, including this. If our relationship hinged now on how much we talked, then I might be concerned. If it prospered and withered purely on how much face-time we had with each other, I might have reason to worry. If shared experience was the glue that held us together, perhaps the next few months would be trouble. But we aren’t a couple because of any of these things. These exercises played a part, sure, but the result is infinitely more than the sum of them. So instead of staying at home, worrying about Anya or our relationship, I’m working my butt off to make the most of this time on my own, so that when we do see each other again, we’ve made something strong even stronger.
For the next 200 days, I’m a bachelor again, but not at all, really.
And for the record, I have no posters, I’ve been eating very healthily, and the place is impeccably clean.