The experience of travel has always seemed much easier when I have been the one departing. While bidding my goodbyes to friends and family typically can be intensely discomforting, the thrill of escape on a new adventure has often overshadowed this inevitable farewell trauma. Today, my wife leaves for a one week vacation with Yoga friends in the rustic mountains of North Carolina while I stay home to face the unfamiliar territory of bachelorhood. While the absence of my significant other is merely temporary, I consider this hiatus as a “wake up “‘opportunity for me to strengthen our marriage and function with self-sufficient confidence as needed.
Hearing the voice of my wife from afar no doubt offers me new opportunities for genuine communication. To miss her presence beside me now tests the spirit of togetherness that suddenly has been removed from our marital equation.The true meaning of love in our marriage becomes clearer now as I struggle to realize what life would be like without her. Under such circumstances, it might even behoove me to imagine what my last words to her might be if we faced together the ominous fate of an imminent death on a crippled plane in its fiery descent to the earth.
The equality of male/female gender relations in my marriage is also tested today in my wife’s absence from the daily routine. Facing the impeding urgency of housekeeping tasks this week, I can more honestly view my part in this unglamorous but necessary part of keeping my marriage stable. I imagine myself like an octopus presence, possessing many hands to complete a sizable list of domestic obligations. Checking the wash while watching TV or rebooting the Internet as I prepare my dinner have suddenly become real for me for as I multitask mightily to keep the home in working order.
My wife and I agreed early in our marriage that we would always make time to travel together regularly. Given the freedom of many days off to escape from our hectic life as school teachers, our “eye to the sky” gave us little time at home to reflect on the aging process.We were rarely present to celebrate the holidays with family/friends and it became a foregone conclusion that we would never have children to prevent us from sustaining our lifestyle of active self-indulgence in travel.
Serious reflection about the long term impact of these Wanderlust life choices arise in my mind more freely now. Am I prepared to cope with getting older? How capable would I be to manage a monthly budget on my own? Am I willing to network socially to find more friends? Now is a good time for me to test my independent resolve while my “magic carpet” is grounded.