The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating — in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.
– Anne Morriss
One day not too long ago, Gabriel and I found ourselves at Starbucks on a cold winter day. We'd been having many conversations about our future (a bit too many for Gabe's taste, I think), and I was trying to make a certain point that I was having trouble getting across. I ordered either a vanilla steamer or a chai and the quote above was on it. THAT was exactly what I was trying to say. Gabe got it, and I think that quote played a significant role in our engagement ;-)
When Gabe proposed that big field of 'what if' just disappeared, like it never existed, and an enormous amount of energy was freed up. I think we both felt lighter and happier... now we have plans that aren't preceded by hypotheticals.. we're not bogged down in the weight of options and uncertainty. I see our commitment like a container for energy, rather than it dissipating out to everywhere.... Okay, that's many ways to say one thing, and a silly cup still says it better.
I've been thinking about that cup a lot lately, for another reason. It's no secret that I want to move to northern California yesterday. There's a lot of reasons, but basically it's that I went there one summer seven years ago and since then it's felt like home. It's surreal to me that I still live in Boston, since I've been meaning to leave for so long. And frustrating. Gabe and I have talked a lot the past year about starting a new life in CA - he likes it out there, and it's a great place for his field. Since we met as roommates and 'fell' into a relationship, it would be nice to purposefully start our married life in a new place. Gabe's feelings about a move are mixed, for a good reason. He started his company a few years ago and has put so much into it to leave before the whole thing plays out. One day he'll be all about California, and then the next he pushes back the timeline. I really do understand, but it really makes it hard to be on solid ground, and impossible to plan anything.
Again, the cup quote. If i just knew we were here for one more year, or two, or forever, then I can commit to that and free up my energy again. But in one day checking craigslist for san francisco jobs and planning boston work events for a year out is a blatant waste of energy, and confusing. And work... I was awarded a consulting grant and have been meeting with someone who is really helping me develop and execute my vision at work. I get all psyched to build up this amazing arts program at hospice, and to do it right will require lots of focus and energy and hard work. A lot, a lot. The kind that shouldn't be diminished with thoughts of moving, or starting a family, or dropping everything and going to culinary school :) So Gabe and I are talking things over and perhaps for our works' sake just committing to staying xxx number of months/years in Boston.
But here's another thing. I was thinking about this whole issue on the way back from work as I'm mulling over all my work projects (including a new one (!) - a reporter is going to shadow me this week and write an article about expressive therapy) - so I turned off the radio and just imagined and felt what it would be like to really commit to my work for a year, to work so hard I'd leave an established, recognized program that would exist even if I left. I imagined it with a mix of excitement and anticipatory burnout, and then I sort of wrote out my blog in my mind.
Then I turned the radio back on - Wilco's "California Stars" was on.