Distance Creates Closeness (Expat Week #051)

Everyone you meet comes with baggage, find someone who cares enough to help you unpack.  ~Ziad K. Abdelnour


Monkey Whispers

Monkey Whispers

I have baggage. I am not talking about the suitcase type one brings to the airport, though, the baggage I carry does come with me to the airport.  The baggage I speak of is the subtle (or not so subtle) predilections I carry based on my life experiences. Generally, this type of baggage negatively impacts one’s ability to enjoy life by coloring it in ways that mask reality.

We all have our baggage some heavier than others. The baggage I carry is forever the monkey on my back whispering ditties into my ear sowing doubt in my relationships.  It has only been over the past year that I have been able to finally understand those whispers for the lies they are and learn to turn a deaf ear instead of letting them drag me down.

I have been in and out of relationships over the past six years. All through this time I have found myself wondering if I had found my forever one forever or if I was simply hanging on for fear of being alone. Was I truly in love or was I clinging out of desperation? This thought wormed into my psyche frequently nagging me hardest whenever I felt closest to someone. Those doubts ensured there was always a distance between us, a distance that ensured I could not let go totally and immerse myself completely in the relationship.

I continually found myself wondering if the love I felt for the woman I was dating was real, was based in selflessness giving of my heart, or was somehow rooted in a terror of being alone, fostered by a fear of going to the grave without having found the forever one at last and spending the remainder of my life with her.

Prior to leaving for India, I was in a relationship. It wasn’t until the last moment that I was surprised to discover it would not end with my departure. For months I believed when I left for India that it was the end of us. With this belief at the back of my head, it was difficult for me to fully immerse my psyche in the relationship because, I believe, there was always this little part of my brain seeking to protect itself from pain. Even when I left and was told by my girlfriend that she would wait for me I harbored some doubts.

Irene & David

Irene & David

In India, I live alone. Completely alone. Never before in my life have I lived anywhere where my only company was me.

During this time of living alone, it finally became crystal clear to me that I am ok being alone. Ok in that it is something I can do and still be a happy person. This I realized because in the 12 months I have lived here I have not been lonely. I have missed my loved ones but loneliness has not been the result.

Living alone, being alone is not some scary proposition. Rather, it’s a time of adventure, of self exploration, self discovery, awakening. This revelation allowed me finally believe that the love I felt was real, not a clinging for fear of being alone.

My leaving did cause pain. But it is something I had to do. Had I not undertaken this adventure, there would likely always have been that, “is she the one or are you afraid of being alone”, doubt plaguing me. It’s a doubt that built a wall between us. A wall of my own making. I am not sure she was aware of the wall but I can say the wall was never very far from the surface of my thought. I did my best to deny it’s existence but denial was futile.

I can confidently say the wall has been dismantled. That monkey is gone. I am free from the monkey whispers. I am so free that I was able to propose to her last November on a trip home to the US, a proposal she accepted.

The wall has been dismantled in large part because she had the strength of character that allowed me to venture off into the unknown. She had the strength of love that would let me pursue my Indian dream not knowing if I would ever return to her. Because she had such strength I have had the opportunity to grow emotionally in a way that would not have happened had I stayed in the US, to free myself and know that she is my forever one forever.

I am moving back home in November 2014 which is 5 months earlier than originally planned.  I will be leaving a significant part of my personal baggage in India. I will go home lighter. I will go home freer. I will go home and make my life with Irene knowing she is definitely the one for me.  I really enjoy living in India. I was told that I could come home early or stay an extra year. I simply cannot stay.  I am too excited of beginning the next phase of my life with Irene.

About David A Olson

I often find my mind wandering to various subjects, subjects that make me stop and think. The blog, Musings of a Middle Aged Man, is a catalog of those thoughts I muse upon as I search for significance in life. I am the father of 3 children and the grandfather to 2. I spend my days working for a medium sized multinational corporation where I am an Agile Coach. I view myself as a Servant Leader, have a passion for leadership, particularly, in helping people develop their individual leadership skills and abilities. In October 2012, I went to India on business. After a week of being there, I still had not talked to or texted my 7-year-old grandson. He asked his mom, "Is Papa dead? He hasn't texted me all week." To facilitate communication now that he and I no longer live together, I started a blog for us to communicate. It's titled, "Correspondence Between Luke and His Papi". In April 2013, I moved to Pune, India on an 18-month delegation. It's an adventure that was 1.5 years in the making...The experience is captured on my blog, "The Adventures of an American Living Abroad" My two latest blogs are "The Learning Leader", a topic I have been studying since 1990, and "Lipstick on a Pig", a foray into the fashion sense of this middle aged man.
This entry was posted in Adventure, American, Exploration, India, Introspection, Love and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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