Time is a funny thing, and my fear of commitment and I obsess over it.
I once thought that the eight months I spent stuck in LA, unemployed, waiting for my expensive lease to finish so I could flee that city that was never, ever good to me, were the longest of my life. I spent whole days watching the clock, waiting. In time, a solution would come.
It eventually did, the second I threw everything into storage and boarded a flight to Costa Rica, for what I thought would be a month or three.
There, time seemed to pass even more slowly than it did during my awful year in Los Angeles – but it was different. In the sleepy heat of the tropics, I was always busy, but time didn’t seem to fly by like it always did when I was in NYC or Las Vegas working the hours of a CEO yet barely scraping by. Yoga, running with the dogs, working four hours a day (not 12!), studying, watching the sunset with friends…
Every day counted.
Months turned into a year, almost to the day. Then it was time to come home.
Suddenly time was fast again, like it used to be, in the good ‘ol days: racing through every day, Monday through Friday, trying to beat the clock at the office all day, racing to events in the evenings, falling into bed at night. Every weekend passes by in a blur.
For so many years, life flew by in this whirlwind of commitments. Then I watched it slow down for 20 months, and for quite possibly the last time in my life. The recession gave me a gift that I’m not sure will be repeated.
First, time dragged because I was miserable. Then, because I wasn’t.
A few weeks ago, a strange thing happened. I looked at the date on my computer: August 18th. August 18th?! But August 17th was my year anniversary of coming back. How did an entire day fly by without my noticing the date? How could this blink of time back at work possibly be the same amount of time as that lazy year in the tropics?
So I had just had another year of adventure – this time in the blur that is Las Vegas. What now? I think about staying longer, and my heart, controlled by my fear of commitment, beats fast and I don’t think it’s possible. I want to leave! It’s time! Get me out of here! I don’t stay at jobs longer than a year! There are so many things out there that I want to do, and every day I spend at work is more time not doing those things. Historically, this is when I’d be gearing up for the next Big Change.
But I ended my sabbatical for a reason. I had lived as a career woman, and I had lived as an expat in a tiny town. One year ago, I was given a choice between the two, and while I enjoyed both lifestyles, I chose the long-term possibilities that I see as a career woman in a larger city. It was the right decision for me.
But that racing heart, those dreams of running off? Are they to be believed?
Are they my true self calling, or my fear of commitment rearing its ugly head?
There are so many things that I’d love to see and do, and a huge part of me wants to quit now and get going. But the maturity that comes from being tested at work day after day, solving huge dilemmas, forming more long-term relationships, sticking to a growing magazine for an extended period of time… These are also things I want to learn or experience, things that will happen by my staying put.
I haven’t been at a job for more than a year in almost a decade. Actually, it happened exactly once, when I stayed at my very first job for two years.
Some would say I have a fear or commitment. (I admit, my boyfriends have never lasted longer than my job stints, and I’ve moved ten times in five years.) And losing my job and living as an expat taught me how to conquer my fears head-on.
So for now, I’m going to ignore my fight-or-flight racing heart that is trying to trick me into running away – again. Because rushing off to the next adventure is something I’m already good at. Now it’s time to hone my skills at a longer-term undertaking and fight my fear of commitment, even if it breaks my heart in other ways.
So for now, I’m staying put. Because sometimes the only way to go after what you really want in life is to sit still and put in the time to learn.
I have never been one to sit around and let life pass me by. But in a way, by running that race, a few things on my proverbial bucket list have yet to be crossed off.
I commit to overcoming my fear of commitment. I choose to put the fast life on hold. I will stay here for a longer amount of time.
After all… life is short.