The word connotes boredom, monotony, monogamy. I used to be so pro-commitment that I was confident I would marry my high school boyfriend. Five years later, I can’t even decide which color I prefer my hair. For a while, I admired this less-dependent, more capricious version of myself. I felt more confident, I was at liberty to pursue whichever inane impulses flitted across my brain, and dismissed anything that required much forethought or contemplation.
Lately, however, I’ve come to realize that my inability to commit hasn’t made my life more interesting and carefree, but a bit more dull. A little less exciting. More quotidian, run by the need to pay my rent and plan for my so-called “future.” I find myself thinking, if only I had taken that gap year in college, or decided to be an au pair in Italy, or joined the Peace Corps, I would be having an amazing adventure. The application process, the planning, the idea of thinking a year or two in advance, however, always stopped me. The thought, what if something better comes along – what if I’m struck by the notion that I’m actually meant to be a painter or potter or playwright – always stopped me from taking the next step. The fear that I actually didn’t know what it was that I wanted, that I would change course midstream and find myself stranded and unable to fight the current, brought me back to reality.
And yet, every moment in my life that I reflect upon with pride, that marked the beginning of an exhilarating, mind-blowing, self-defining and perspective-expanding journey, has been marked by commitment. Applying early decision to Wellesley College. Accepting an internship in Switzerland. Embarking upon a three month trip.
While I was informed, I plunged into a relatively unknown abyss. Although those experiences are marked by nostalgia and homesickness, hatred of Massachusetts snowstorms and the Swiss’ insistence on using dairy in every single meal, I’ve never looked back. I’ve never reflected and thought, god, I wish I’d spent that summer lifeguarding at home, like the past four years. The times when I waffled, where I let my indecision make the decisions, are the times that I’ve been most disappointed in myself – my lack of a real career back home, that trip to Colombia that I never took, my absolutely average academic performance the first two years of college. So now, I’m ready; I’ve decided that it is officially time to commit, to take the plunge, and (hopefully hopefully) do something absurd, like move to India.
So this is the crossroads. An opportunity is in front of me, and when I first contemplated it, I wasn’t certain that I was interested. Forty-eight hours later, I am so desperately in love with the notion that I know I’ll be heartbroken if it doesn’t come to fruition – not so much for the moment (although that is clearly a huge component), but for my future self. I can already feel my middle-aged regrets seeping in, and I’m putting it in writing lest my adorable house and amazing dog and that boy back home who I have a huge crush on tempt me to stay the carefree course.