Being a digital nomad, I joke a lot about my fear of commitment. I mean, I have some difficulties committing to a place or to one person or even to some projects that I’ve been working on. Being surrounded by digital nomads, I see this happening a lot. From the outside it looks like the only thing we can commit to, is short-term decisions like; let’s take a bus to Slovenia this week (yes, I just woke up in Slovenia). Or; let’s go for some sushi tonight. I was questioning myself; is this fear of commitment bringing me anywhere? And with that, I asked myself; do I actually have a fear of commitment?
Did I have a fear of commitment in the past?
When I was nine, I’d cried and begged for about two years in a row, because I really wanted to have my own horse. There was absolutely nothing in the world that I wanted to have more than my own horse. My parents were careful with giving me one because they wanted me to be responsible with it and for it. I remember one day I was crying my eyes out and my dad came up to tell me that they decided that it was time for me and my sister to get our own horse. Never in my life had I’ve felt so proud, happy and responsible. This horse would get the best home ever. My sister and I choose the sweetest horse in the world; Sunshine. Every morning before school I would get up early to brush him, clean the stable and leave him running outside in the field. I was fully committed. Not just for the first few weeks, but for the years that followed.
Later, when I started in my first job as a hairdresser, my employer challenged me to be the absolute best. I remember training till close to midnight and getting up early again to work the next day. It didn’t do it because he expected me to do it. I did it because I wanted to show my creativity and in order to do that, I had to learn the techniques to design the haircuts I had in mind to make. I was fully committed and would give anything. There were times I went home crying, having the feeling I couldn’t even hold a scissor after being busy for hours in a row with only one haircut. However, the same year I won a prize for being the most creative and young hairdresser of that year’s competition among seventy experienced hairdressers. Again, I felt proud and happy and knew I wasn’t that talented, I was just committed.
Going back through my past, I have a bunch of stories that show that I’ve never been really afraid of committing. I learned at a young age how to commit and that commitment can bring you something, nothing else in the world can bring you; satisfaction.
Do I have a fear of commitment now?
Over the past years, I’ve heard it quite a few times. “Jantien, you have a fear of commitment and you don’t finish stuff that you start with.” Hearing this several times, I started to believe it. I mean, it’s true, I start with things I don’t finish and I can’t even commit to one city for the whole summer (nature is calling, too).
However, going objectively through my past few years, I can’t actually say I haven’t been really committed. Yes, I started projects that I didn’t finish. But having a clear look at that, it actually shows me a lack of focus instead of a lack of commitment. Because the projects that turned out pretty well (like my book), I was absolutely committed to. With that, I started thinking. Once you get the label; fear of commitment, you might tend to live up to that and even start joking about it yourself. My total focus was on the things I was, indeed ‘afraid of committing’ to. Not because I was actually afraid, but because they were simply not important enough for me.
Maybe I just commit to other things
I figured that maybe I don’t commit to the things people expect me to commit to, or even I think I should commit to, but that doesn’t mean I’m afraid of commitment. It just means that I find other things more important. It’s all about priorities. In the time I was going to the office every day, had dinner, went to the gym and watched a series, I wasn’t any more committed to what I was doing. I was just building a routine.
Last year I made a list of my main values in life and if I have a look at that, I see I’ve been pretty serious about them. I’m talking about freedom, adventure, positivity, financial freedom, creativity and putting myself first. Even though the past year has been difficult, with a lot of personal and financial struggles, I put these values over anything. I think I’ve never been as determined as now to actually live up to my values and create the life that I want.
Wow, now that I’m writing this, I’m actually surprised with the outcome of this article. I really believed I had commitment issues (I’m actually committed to using that word, that’s for sure). Or maybe I have, but I just took a lot of time writing this article to convince myself I don’t. Does it really matter?
I gotta confess
In the past year, I’ve been a bit annoyed now and then by people who I actually thought myself were not really committed. However, now I see they might just have had different priorities. Labeling someone with a fear of commitment is almost like asking them to not commit to anything. It’s stupid and it doesn’t help anybody. Maybe that’s the thing that can actually fuck up someone’s life. Not the fear of commitment itself, but the label, or not even knowing what the hell you wanna commit to. I believe, once you find something that is important enough to you, fear is no longer an excuse but at the most just a label we tent to live up to.
For now, I wanna make it important to surround myself with people who found something that is important enough for them to actually commit to because I know it inspires me to keep doing the same thing. And the best things happen when you dare to say, fuck yes!