I’m sitting here on the couch, making a packing list before I go spend two months with Taylor.
I’m remembering our video call earlier - and my reaction when I saw his bookshelf.
He had walked by it casually, like he probably did every day. And yet to me, it was a novel sight (pun intended).
There, on his bookshelf, were not just a few books. There were stacks, and stacks, and stacks of books. Maybe two hundred.
“What is that?” I asked him, my mouth and eyes both wide open.
“Oh, this? My books? Yeah, these are just the ones upstairs. You’ll see all of them when you’re here.”
I continued to stare at him in awe, my lips slightly curved upwards in delight, mouth still gaping open in shock simultaneously.
"I’m a geek,” was all he could say in a shy tone, and he shrugged.
But it wasn’t that he was a geek. It was that he was amazing. He was always reading books. He was a master at learning a decent amount of everything - constantly buying more books, and not just stacking them in a fashionable corner of his house with good intentions. He was reading them - something I had not quite mastered yet. Yes, I was still in the buy-books-because-you-know-everyone-suggests-them-and-very-much-intend-to-read-them-oneday club.
His collection, and my being thrown into many memories of his incessant reading, instantly triggered memories of myself whenever I was with him - I read more. And what’s more, I tried more at virtually everything. Even more interesting? Taylor had confessed that he had begun working harder at things when he was with me too. And so, upon reflection, I couldn’t help but wonder:
Does being with someone actually make us better?
Arnold Schwartzenegger once said, upon being asked the key to being a self made man, “I am not a self made man.” He was referring to the countless people who had helped him along his journey, pointing him in the right direction, giving him much needed advice, challenging him, and so on. He and many other successful people claim that you cannot succeed alone.
It’s kind of like the saying, “it takes a village.”
So what if that’s true of life partnerships?
I find that I’m living in the era of “single=self-love.” And while being single can definitely be a direct catalyst for self-love, I find myself constantly challenging this paradigm.
Does the village proverb really apply to romance? Do we really need someone else in our home to make us want to be better?
I can think of plenty of examples of the contrary, of course. We all can. But something tells me this isn’t the end of the inquiry.