If there’s one thing that characterizes my life, it’s a fear of getting stuck.
When I was younger, I adamantly promised myself that I would never be that person who stayed in one place for a really long time or got married really young and missed out on things.
To me, getting stuck meant settling for life.
It meant settling for a job that pays the bills, settling for one town or city, settling for marriage before 25 when you were supposed to be out living and not worrying about stuff like marriage.
I wish I could say I got over this mentality, but I haven’t. In fact, I think my fear of getting stuck has evolved into something maybe even more monstrous: a fear of commitment.
Here’s some quick numbers from just the last two years of my life:
I’ve had three different jobs.
I’ve lived in four different houses/apartments.
I’ve been involved in three relationships.
I lived in a different state for four months.
And this summer I took a leave of my permanent job to live in New York City for six weeks.
(However, I did get a tattoo, so I’m not yet too far gone with the commitment thing.)
What am I even doing.
Right now, the idea of committing to just one thing is terrifying to me because I’m so afraid of getting stuck in something I don’t like:
What if this job is boring and sucks the life out of me?
What if I actually find out I don’t want to be with this person?
What if I waste my life by being that girl who just stays in the same boring city her whole life because things just kept coming up?
WHAT IF I GET STUCK?
My friend Holly is a really great example of someone who, by my fear-induced definition, is “stuck”:
Holly got married very young before she was 25. Like, way before.
She has always lived in the same state.
She has lived in the same city for seven years.
She just bought a house, so she’s pretty committed to not only her living situation, but also her geographic location.
However, Holly is anything but stuck.
From the outside, Holly is living a life I have scrambled and fought to avoid. And yet I would never look at Holly and think she’s stuck.
In fact Holly, in many ways, is living a life I only dream of living and at times even find myself envious of.
Often, I think people look at me on Instagram or Facebook or this blog and see someone who has a glamorous life free of worry and doubt.
People look at my pictures or read what I write and they see a girl who travels a lot and is free and independent and hilariously drinking wine alone. Quite frankly, I am that girl, and I’m glad that with the courage I do possess I have done some really cool, non-committal things (like spending six weeks in New York City).
And while it’s true I would not be awesome me without those experiences, I carry an ever-present, nudging hope that one day I’ll have the courage to commit to something like a marriage, a city and a home.
Commitment takes courage. Not only that, but commitment allows you to put down deep roots and flourish in a way being restless does not.
Commitment gives you time to cultivate friendships, history, skills, and the fortitude to stick with something even when it’s not shiny and new anymore.
Grabbing new experiences is easy; committing to people and a life you love is for the truly brave.
I think there’s a difference between passively living your life without change and being someone who is willing to commit to something, whether it be a person, place, or job, even when it’s no longer glamorous. Being stuck and being rooted in purpose are two different things. And I’m slowly learning that the latter is what is going to bring lasting fulfillment to my life, no matter how frightening that initial idea may be.
I hope that at some point in my life, possibly when I’ve exhausted my travel fund, I too will have the courage to get “stuck.”