This week’s column was supposed to be about the topic of commitment. Not commitment in the way of relationships, but the struggle there seems to be with accepting an invitation.
A friend and I were recently having an in depth conversation about this as we each struggle with children who have summer birthdays. I’m a December baby, so I know all too well how it feels when family travel plans or holiday functions conflict with birthday parties. Several decades later, I still struggle and must accept it now at the hands of my children’s disappointment.
The ‘commitment’ topic and people bowing out for something better, is indeed a valid one. This morning, however, as I readied myself for work another topic crossed my mind which oddly enough stems from the same word. So, now I will test myself to see how skilled I am at weaving the two together in the same shared space.
I’ve recently learned some friends view me as ‘intense.’ In all honesty, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I shared the opinion with another friend, who wholeheartedly agreed.
So, as I readied myself for work I thought of one of those friends and how instrumental they have been in my life most recently. It was early and a phone call would have been inappropriate, so instead I shot them an e-mail.
I let the friend know of my gratitude, as well as the things I felt they offer to the richness which is my life. As I hit send, I recognized this is not always a common practice for people. Committing our thoughts and feelings to words (written or spoken) places us in a vulnerable position. Yet, as an ‘intense’ person I also realize the intrinsic value of being honest with someone. As I shared in the e-mail, “We don’t get moments back and God places the words in our head for a reason.”
I fully believe that.
Losing loved ones at a young age taught me to live in the moment. Tomorrow may not come to share what we are thinking today. Personally speaking, there have been countless random times when a call from a friend, a quick message or a card has brought me from a place of being a bit down to remembering why it is I love my friends so much. The extra benefit of course, is that words and thoughts cost absolutely nothing yet they hold the most value.
This now brings me back to this ‘event commitment’ epidemic we seem to be struggling with as a society.
I believe we live in a day and age of excess. Information regarding pretty much anything is immediate, children are looking more and more to gadgets or events to entertain us and sadly as our calendars grow, so too does our commitment phobia.
The whole notion or concept of this is hard for me to grasp. I’m the person always excited to just have made the ‘Guest List.’ I’m pretty good about not over thinking when, why or how I might be invited to an event. Once the invitation is extended, it’s a pretty simple task of consulting the social calendar, kids event calendar and simply replying.
I am not the person to leave someone wondering until the day or night prior if our family will be making an appearance. As a person who has hosted her fair share of large events, my conscience won’t allow it. I don’t care how close or wonderful the hosting friend or family member may be … it’s not okay.
So, no… I am not the girl who waits to weigh her options. Does this mean our family misses out on amazing opportunities? Not at all. It’s the company we choose to keep which is the opportunity, the rest of it is just fluff. Whether the event be at a local park or on a friend’s private boat we attend because of the people.
True, we cannot be two places at once but we can make a commitment. If a person has taken the time to extend you an invitation, it is equally your job to respond appropriately. This is not, after all, just about balloons and birthday cakes. It’s about a child and their one wish to spend some time with friends in honor of their birth. Pretty simple, really.
I often wonder, if people treated their day to day life with the same nonchalance as a party invitation, how would they get anything done?
So there you have it. Live up to the word of commitment. Whether it be committing to words, which may make a friend or strangers day, or committing to a simple invitation. Get off the fence and take the leap. You may find it’s actually easier than the waiting and wondering about something better.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.