Having spent most of the weekend dealing with births, deaths and marriages, the subject of commitment kept creeping into my head. What is it that keeps a couple together for fifty years? What is that makes one person commit to looking after another, till death do they part? Why, when your cat has six kittens, do you decide to keep them all?
Just what is it in the human psyche that makes us pick a baton, run with it and decide that this is the baton for us and we won’t pass it on to the next person in the relay race of life? Is it a well I have started so I better finish thing or is it that we get stuck in the familiar ?
For many of the people I spoke to this weekend the answer was clear
‘Life wouldn’t be the same without her/him’
‘Who else would I ask to lift and carry her?’
‘I looked at them and it was love, love for all 6’
Then there is the other kind of commitment, the kind we have to do and don’t really have much choice. Work, paying bills or picking kids up from school, we really do put ourselves under a lot of pressure sometimes when we over commit and horrors of horrors, have to ‘let someone down’. I have a friend who constantly ‘guilt’ commits herself to things, she feels guilty if she says no and as a result is permanently knackered, has next to no social life and definitely no life of her own. It started with giving an old lady a lift to Church and she now runs a ‘taxi’ service to and from bingo, mass and the supermarket. She had to say no one weekend as her brother was getting married and spent the whole day worrying about her ‘replacement’. So when we make any kind of commitment how much should we think about it and how often should we turn round and say ‘no’!
My own commitment to myself is, of course, to try to mould this lump of plasticine I call a body into something resembling a shape! Just like an ‘old married couple’ I get fed up with listening to myself making excuses for not going to the gym, being late, not tidying up or washing the dishes. The other day I actually gave myself a row for not buying milk and then told myself off for talking to myself. (Note to men in white coats, can I have bling on the buckles on the straight jacket?) Honestly I wonder sometimes. I do of course entirely blame this exercise lark, it turns your life upside down, making sure you have enough clean socks and t-shirts, trying to decide if your legs can go one more day without attacking them with the ladyshave, so much to think about for one wee commitment. But I guess like anything we ‘sign up to’ in life there are good times and bad. The feeling of ‘I did it’ when I manage the full 30 sit ups compared to the ‘what a wimp’ when I can’t all balances out in the end.
So my friends, whether you have committed yourself to fitting into those skinny jeans, spending the summer teaching kids to play tennis or, having survived 50 years as a married couple, looking forward to the next 50, I salute you. Any form of commitment in this ‘disposable’ day and age is to be applauded and toasted with a gin or two or three or four !
Till the next time