Posted by: Christine | April 23, 2009

Commitmentphopia

“Fear of Commitment” – according to www.wikipedia.com, it is defined as avoidance of long-term partnership and/or marriage but the problem is often much more pervasive, affecting school, work, and home life as well.”  The article goes on to explain how some individuals have trouble committing because they fear that the situation will be unsatisfactory or even counter-productive in their quest towards fulfilment.

Consider this: I’ve self diagnosed – I have a fear of vocational commitment.  I cannot bear committing to a course of action, career path, or entrepreneurial efforts unless it is at minimum risk and maximum necessity.  I seem to like stagnating. 

I began high school not knowing what career I wanted to pursue or what major I would choose in college.  As I began my studies at The College of New Jersey, I chose a major in Engineering, one that I switched to Physics Teaching after two years.  Finally getting though the demands of student teaching, I took a job as a high school Physical Science teacher.  I refer to that position as a “learning experience” – the challenged it presented caused me some of the worst anxiety I’ve experienced.  On the bright side, I gained experience in dealing with stubborn students and planning lessons on the fly.  Next, I took a position working in an office, for a cosmetics manufacturer.  It was a very friendly working environment and I learned a great deal about the business world, but my heart was not in it.

My work history is not without its happy times, though.  I’ve worked two summers at a camp for gifted middle-schoolers; it was a job so fun and just challenging enough to make it my favorite job so far.  If I could do it from Long Island, I’d work at that summer camp all year round.  Volunteering was always special for me, when I found a caring environment that needed and appreciated my help.  I loved doing work that was helpful and short-term, which for me felt like it was voluntary.  Whenever I found a good, stable, and permanent job, it wasn’t long before I felt like I was trapped, kept fenced apart from my dreams.

I’m sure there are others out there who feel dissatisfied with the post-college let-down: now, we’re in the real world, but it’s a little too real for us.  Get jobs, get insurance, save wisely, build up experience…not the endless opportunity we envisioned possessing simply because we would earn diplomas. 

For those of us with eyes still glazed with stardust, staring at an impractical dream…is it too late?

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Responses

  1. Hi Christine,

    You talked about a fear of settling down and losing your dream. But, what is your dream? Since, you can’t really expect to get to your goals unless you define them. And our primary goal at the very least should be to love God without our whole hearts. So, whatever vocation we do choose should be something that leads us closer to God.

    And, if you don’t know what your dreams are, then the only thing you can do is go after a number of different jobs and see what sticks. You seem to be already doing that. So, good job! Also, you’re at least discerning the vocation of marriage, which is much further than where most people our age get. So, don’t worry. Take it to prayer and everything has a way of working out. Just keep applying yourself.

    I guess I’m just lucky that God’s leading me in a very direct manner to my vocation. But, even within the priesthood there’s a number of different jobs and hats that he has to wear. So, in a sense, I’m still figuring out what type of priest I want to be. (With the assurance that my bishop will tell me yes or no and then I can go on living a happy unanxious life. 🙂 )

    Ok, I don’t know if this helps. But, I’ll keep you in prayer.

    God Bless!
    -Todd

  2. Oh and here’s an article by Orson Scott Card on a similar topic: http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2005-02-20-1.html
    Enjoy!

  3. Todd, thanks for the link to that article. Reading it, a lot of the points the author made felt quite familiar to myself. The author wrote: “And the more choices we have, the more opportunities we’ll lose. For Maximizers, having many desirable choices almost guarantees disappointment and regret.” (I think I’m a “maximizer” in many ways – I keep changing my preferences trying to find something better). Whoa – I understand that feeling. To learn to be satisfied by what one already has is a blessing…something I hope to learn someday. Excellent article. I might try to find the book it’s about.


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