Tackling a fear of commitment
My friends and I have a long-running joke over how funny I am, ever since the day that I claimed I was the wittiest “because my birthday keychain says so.” My birthday keychain also proclaimed that those born on June 9 were fearful of commitment. Regardless of whether my friends bow down to me as the funniest in the group, they all agree that I’m only predictable in being unpredictable.
I’ve always been indecisive: I’m the girl whom waitresses hate because I either a) can’t make up my mind or b) switch my order as soon as I put it in. I also generally refuse to decide where to go on dates (surprise me!), sign leases (month-to-month, please and thank you) or get tattoos (so by permanent…you mean permanent). My mom is pretty stoked about that last one, but other than that, people tend to have a hard time dealing with someone who can never make up her mind.
In short: I am not good at commitment. I have a six-month attention span. I tend to do things like, you know, book a one-way ticket to France or Australia or Bali on a whim. I don’t like leases, contracts, agreements where you have to sign on the dotted line. This generally makes me an unsuitable candidate for things like serious relationships, “real jobs” or living in cities with an extremely competitive housing market.
In an attempt to stay both intellectually engaged and culturally hip, I like to trade off my subway reading: a serious non-fiction, then a light-hearted beach read, then back to something serious and so on. My latest commuting guilty pleasure was “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” by Mindy Kaling, a writer for The Office. One of her essays on what women are looking for in a man (namely, an ability to commit) jumped out at me:
But let me explain! I’m not talking about commitment to romantic relationships. I’m talking about commitment to things: houses, jobs, neighborhoods. Having a job that requires a contract. Paying a mortgage. I think when men hear that women want a commitment, they think it means commitment to a romantic relationship, but that’s not it. It’s a commitment to not floating around anymore. I want a guy who is entrenched in his own life. Entrenched is awesome.
This goes against all travel blogger ethos, but I’m impressed by commitment. Just as I’m impressed by someone who has the audacity to leave everything behind to pursue a dream of traveling the world, I’m inspired by people who wholeheartedly commit to a life. I’m intrigued by people who have worked for the same company for years, who have lived in the same apartment, who have discovered a calling and stuck with it, who fell in love with their high school sweetheart. Let me note that I’m most impressed by people who have created a life that they genuinely love, not those who are stuck in a holding pattern without the courage to make a necessary change.
But those people who are entrenched? I think it’s awesome. I am rarely entrenched in anything, because I am mentally always scanning for loopholes, reassuring myself that I can get out of anything “if I really want to.”
They say that the best way to tackle a fear is to embrace it. So, I’m deeming 2013 the year that I commit–committing to it, if you will. I’m signing a one-year lease on January 1. I’ll sign another six-month contract at work, if they’ll have me. I signed up for a once-a-week volunteer shift at Housing Works. I might actually attempt to date in New York City (I can assure you that when it comes to relationship shenanigans in NYC, Sex and the City does not exaggerate nearly as much as you’d think it does).
In short, I’m going to stop the wandering for a year and become entrenched in my own life. Be here, be present. Be the best version of my myself that I can be, even if that’s just trying to conjure up my vacation self in the city.