Posted in Of Psyche

Of Commitment

My ‘dream’ purse: Literally called “Reve”

The above, is my purse. I received it as a birthday gift. I’ve now had it for seven and a half years. I’ve had other purses in between – both bought and received as gifts. None could compare. The image is more or less an accurate representation of how it looks – disgusting would be the word. The image below might shed light on the fact that though it is a battered old thing that has weathered many storms (and other extreme climates, including people, especially careless, old yours truly) it’s still going good. I’ve changed several phones in the past seven years – the other object I have to have on my person at all times – but, I can’t seem to quit my purse. It has been a commitment I did not see coming.

Some of my more modest readers would see no problem with the situation. If it ain’t broke, why replace it? Of course, my primary argument is that people in snobbish shops judge you on the basis of how you carry your money, and I can see their facial expression changing the moment I pull this out to pay. I clean it often. There is not a single sign of wear and tear. More importantly, the particular arrangement of compartments is exactly suited to who I am and what I need. All other purses have too much or too little in comparison. They’re either too big or too small, have too many pockets or too few. I even have the exact same purse in brown that has never been used, because blue’s my colour.

Inside the ‘reve’

Is this essay an elaborate metaphor on human commitments, or just about my purse? Well, a bit of both. You see, you can judge where you are on the commitment scale (commitment-phobe to committed) by how you treat non-human, everyday things in your life. Do you like variety in your choice of bread, or is it always the same kind? Do you want the latest car, even if you don’t need it or can’t afford it, or are you content with the one you have? Can you put up with your job, or your educational course, even if you’ve had problems with it?

It’s not about how much or how little you commit to things, it’s why you choose to have the relationship at all. If the world were to end today, and I had to carry my cash and cards to wherever the government would be taking us, I’d take the purse I always use. It’s not a trivial decision, because it’s carrying some of my most important things, and in my unscientific assumption, it seems like it could survive extreme conditions. It’s tried and tested. It’s endured. It’s stuck around for so long, that it has become part of me. I’m emotional about it.

Therefore, trying to determine the nature of a commitment before you’ve let it take its natural course does not give the impression of practicability. Sure, it is a condition that is both romantic (Carpe diem, anyone?) and common, but the only way you can truly assess the length and quality of a commitment is when you have lived through it. Most of us do not have the gift of premonition (some of us do pay those who claim to), but a way of determining how we might behave in our human commitments is to look at how we behave in our non-human ones.

I can be quite fickle when it comes to choosing ice-cream flavours, picking a new one each time if I can, but I have one I depend on (vanilla) and one I love (mango). What it reflects about me, perhaps, is that I like to try new things, but there are things I find pleasure in, while there are other things I can count on. I like to meet new people, but there is specific company I find pleasure in, and there are people I know I can depend on.

You can choose anything under the sun (or the sun and stars, if astronomy’s your thing), and conduct the above experiment, to see if it explains your relationships better. Even if it doesn’t, at least you’d be enlightened on one aspect of your life, even if that aspect is ice-cream (hey, that seems important to me). The object of this exercise is to be more honest with ourselves for the better of everyone and everything involved. Which is an idea worth committing to.

What are some of the things (or people) you’re committed to?


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

7 thoughts on “Of Commitment

  1. Great post! I have to give this one some thought. Of course for people the commitment goes to my wife, but other things? Tougher to define the level of importance and commitment to them in the way you define them. My trusty Ipod? My phone? My TIntin books? My cameras? All important to me, inherently so, but do I define them this way. Very interesting idea!

    1. Thank you very much, Robert! I love Tintin, though I don’t have a single copy anymore. I do have the Asterix box set. Whatever I know of you, I’d say you definitely emphasize quality in relationships. Even the way you conduct your social media, it shows you take things seriously. My purpose for writing this post was to look at the idea of commitment differently. People go on and on about their expectations regarding commitments, but they don’t see you can’t really predict how things will go. You just have to recognize them for what they are. I know I’m capable of both fickle and deep, some people are, some aren’t etc.

      1. I’m jealous of that Asterix box set. I do emphasize relationships, especially on social media, so you have that one right. I think some of that comes down to my age. I sort of fall in between the cracks when it comes to the computer age, and by extension, social media. Meaning I write FB or Twitter posts the way I would write a letter…because I come from an era where I write a letter to someone! I email people the same way, and try not to resort to shortcuts. That quality in relationships comes down to communication for me, and if I can’t do that, then that ‘commitment’ will suffer. At least thats how I see it. As you say though, not something you can really predict!

      2. I have received emails from you, so I can vouch for you there. I was 17 when I started text messaging and social media, but I was a letter writer from a very young age. Just today I wrote a comment on someone’s blog post that was like an entire blog post in itself. I know some people appreciate it, while others are overwhelmed. I guess, a half-hearted response is easier to make if words are few, while you do give a bit of yourself when you say more. Not that length matters, and sometimes brevity also says it well, but commitments need effort, and you can be committed to a comment you’re writing too!

      3. I hold out hope that someday, the art of the letter and fully written out words will come back again! I love commenting on blogs. It is part of the process. I probably have written 100 more posts worth in comments in fact. But it feels right to do do. I guess that is my commitment you speak of. Curious to read other people’s responses.

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