2017 theme: “Commit”
I don’t find resolutions a very useful strategy, as you know if you’ve been reading here for a while, but I have been trying lately to have a theme for the year. 2016’s theme was “ask.”
On the whole, it’s been a good theme, although I don’t really think it’s over, yet. I made a big successful ask. I’ve been asking for lesser things basically non-stop since May, though, without a lot of result. However, I think what that means is I need to modify my asks and also to be more consistent about them (in part, hence, this year’s theme). Oh, and as to fruitless obsessions: my alcohol consumption has fallen by at least 90 percent; however, my politics obsession continues unabated and I’ve had more free time this year to read about politics than I have had in my entire life. This is so typical of me. I clamp down on one questionable behavior and all the other ones get out of hand.
The reason I picked “commit” for this year is that it has occurred to me that I’m now getting to the point where I’m spinning my wheels a little. I practiced being fearless (sorry, Mr. Armitage, that was a few years ago for me), I refused to feel guilty, I freed myself from an exhausting situation, and I asked for the help I needed and I go on asking.
I’m not unhappy (due to emotional labor, I’m busy, at any rate), but it’s clear to me that by conventional measures, I’m suffering from commitment phobia. I’m not lonely by any means (in fact, although there are moments when I might like to be having certain conversations, on the whole, I’d like to spend more time alone), but it’s now been ten years without a significant other. I used to be incredibly devoted to my job — but I haven’t yet found a work that would allow that again. I had been thinking that was a positive development, but the problem I’ve discovered is that I miss that feeling of total immersion in a task I am doing. I need to find a work that is absorbing but not so demanding that I drown myself in it. I think this is a piece of the problem — in the past, when I’ve been committed, I’ve been over-committed and part of me is afraid of that feeling again. But I’ve got at least to get my feet wet again.
Perhaps most significantly — the place where I am mostly easily immersed is in writing. I wanted to write. And I do write, but not with the sort of commitment or concentration or focus that I wanted.
I think, also, I have had enough time to think. I’ve thought so long and hard about somehow returning to teaching and I’m hesitant that it’s a good idea. So for right now I am discarding that option. But it’s true that I haven’t found that fascination yet, and I’m not going to wait any longer. I have Richard Armitage, right? For the fascination? He’s the only truly compelling fascination I have at the moment, problematic as that might be.
I always used to tell people who were in my current situation (unable to find the convincing thing) to commit, and if they didn’t love the result, even so they would learn something. Waiting for the perfect thing, even searching for the perfect thing, will condemn one to failure. It’s time to do. And daylight is still burning. I saw my cousin today and was reminded that her mother, my aunt, was dead at 59. For me, that would be twelve more years. In that space of time, I could have finished writing (even if I didn’t manage to publish) a number of novels.
So: time to commit. Here we go.