I'm often commitment averse. It's one of the negative character traits I'm more aware of, one I see pop up in a few areas of life, often with undesired consequences.
On the positive side, I like to keep my options open. Planning ahead takes a lot of time and energy, and limits what you can do when the moment comes. I like to live as freely as I can, the less commitments the better.
But commitment itself isn't a negative. Saying you're going to do something and doing it is important at different times. Sometimes we have to commit otherwise things simply don't work.
With my work, I need to commit to turning up. They need to know I'm going to do the work they're paying me to do. They won't settle for a "I'll see how I feel on the day" vibe.
And in other areas of life this applies too. In our friendships we make unspoken commitments, building them action by action, as we do life together. The closer we get the more we share, the more we share the more we trust, the more we trust the more we hope the other person is committed to us, at least in some temporal sense. Committed to not stab us in the back, committed to be there for us when we need them, and vice versa.
And it's true in terms of location too. If we don't commit to a place we never put down deep roots, and deep roots are a necessity if we're going to grow large trees.
So I've had to work against my natural tendency not to commit. I've had to realise that this tendency isn't always the best for me, the ideal habit for a healthy Fred.
A big one for me was location. I'd not committed to a place for quite a while, and it was showing. My friendships were shallow and I was generally unhappy.
I committed to London, wanting to stay for six months. But the flat I had my heart set on wanted a twelve month contract, and so I signed on for a year.
And you know what? It was a great decision. Six months in, I finished up my current job and was looking for something new. I was wrestling with other questions in life too, and the last thing I needed was a flat hunt at the same time.
My commitment from before removed questions, it allowed me to set a foundation that I could put roots down into, it gave me space to focus on what really mattered.
And so it was recently with taking a full-time, permanent job again. It'd been a while since I'd taken a role with a longer term view. One where I'm expected to stick around for at least a year or two, assuming nothing goes horribly wrong.
But despite my natural tendency towards keeping my options open, towards freedom of choice, I felt it was the right thing to do.
Like the flat, it gave me something solid to build the rest of my life around, knowing I'll be here in London for the next year or two, unless something drastic changes.
And so I'm back to this dilemma again today. Should I look to buy a place in London? Really put my stake in the ground and put my money where my mouth is?
Naturally, I want to keep my options open. To make it easy to move to another city, if I feel that's right. To not take a risk on the property market, to bet safe.
But I don't think that's the right path for me. Betting safe all the time. Never really putting down deep roots for fear of needing to dig them out of the dirt later down the line.
And so it's got me wondering. Wondering whether now is a good time to buy. Wondering whether, in other areas of my life, I need to stop being so commitment averse. Stop being so worried about what could go wrong, and start investing where my heart is, where my hopes are, in what could go right.
Tonight I'll start a flat search. And tomorrow, maybe tomorrow I'll take steps forwards that follow my hopes, not my fears.