Andrew and I celebrated our fifth, and last, dating anniversary on September 24th. Next year, we’ll be celebrating in a new month and starting the count over at one with our first wedding anniversary.

The home stretch of wedding preparations has been a tumultuous couple of weeks. Family stresses, work demands, and the last few pre-cana videos we’re trying to watch before, you know, the cana all bubble around and beg for attention, and suddenly I find myself thinking a lot about Doctor Who.

Specifically, the tenth Doctor. Even more specifically, some of the things he talked about near the end. My youngest sister best expressed one of the things I love about David Tennant’s interpretation of the character: “You can feel the weight of all the Doctors in him.” This is someone who knows who he’s been before, even knows that this isn’t by far the first time he’s changed. And even so, when he’s told his time is coming to a close, it’s an upheaval.

Even though Time Lords regenerate, the Doctor says, it’s still a kind of death. His face will change. So will his personality. He’ll keep some important parts of himself, but the way they are expressed may be very different. There’s no way to tell beforehand. The Tenth Doctor is afraid going in, and sad, and at least a little angry.

The beautiful thing, though, is the next season starts and we get to see what happens next. The face and voice are different, true. Some people miss the old Doctor. The Doctor himself has to work out what he likes now, how he responds to stress–who he is in this new context. But those important parts that are kept emerge quickly: intelligence, compassion, kindness, a sense of wonder, his memories of everything that has come before. And the new Doctor is more playful, and he is perhaps a bit less guarded with his emotions, and he is maybe more patient than he used to be.

Marriage is a regeneration. I’m starting to really sympathize when I see the Doctor exploding with that orangey-yellow light. I’m bubbling with change. My benefit is I know more about my future than the Doctor gets to, and get to transform in a much happier context than Time Lords do. I’m also guaranteed a pretty snazzy companion.

I do have moments when I think, “I am going to miss my name,” or “I am scared I won’t recognize myself as a wife.” Engaged couples don’t often talk about those moments, or at least not publicly. It feels cruel, or ungrateful considering the unfathomable blessing that it is to find someone you want to love for the rest of your lives. But I think they should.

And then I imagine those first days and weeks of marriage, still crackling with energy, still discovering how people see me differently, how they hear me, what I’ve kept or lost or gained. Nerdy as it is, it helps to see the Doctor flow from actor to actor. New face, new style, but on the most fundamental and important levels, the same wonderful character. I’m not going to start a whole argument about which Doctor is objectively better, but if I could pick which one I would rather be, I’d go with Matt Smith–the Doctor with a marriage.

Tomorrow, at 2:30 pm, I start the biggest adventure of my life. Geronimo.