I have commitment issues about books, houses, and relationships. I confess these shortcomings because some might consider them aberrations in an otherwise “normal” life. For example, at any one time, I’m reading 5-6 books. It’s only difficult if I go too long between reading cycles because I forget some of the details.
Regarding houses, I have little to no desire to pay a mortgage every month. In spite of “rent is tossing money done the drain” advice, I’m inclined to maintain the flexibility of month-to-month living versus a 30-year contract. Then there’s relationships.
I’ve found little to recommend the partnered version of life. Given the small, conservative community I live in, my single state perplexes more than a few people. I’ve adopted the standard line that I won’t be with anyone who doesn’t make life better than being single. So, here’s how my issues relate to you: I believe we’ve been told that fitting a niche is important and that aberrations need to be stamped out—and I think we’re ignoring it.
I can already hear people saying, “We’re living in one of the most open and accepting of times.” On the surface? Maybe. Dig a little deeper and I’m not convinced that we’re any less susceptible to the idea that people should fit, whether it’s within a family, a community, or another social group.
Technically, there’s nothing wrong with my commitment issues. They affect few if any people other than me, but the outward appearances they create leave me open to the criticism of others. Consider how you define people based on the brands they choose.
If you’re a Mac person, doesn’t part of you always feel a little sorry for those unenlightened PC people? If you’re a PC person, don’t you wonder why the Mac people pay more for essentially the same machine? What about how we define people based on the jobs they hold? As much as we might wish otherwise, we make our judgments.
I’m still undecided on the goodness or badness of this particular behavior (thus the post to hopefully start a discussion). For me, the bigger issue is how we ignore the role of these judgments. We make assumptions about general acceptance and then wonder why our country is closely divided on so many issues, including politics, business, and technology.
I hear it in conversations when I travel, among members of my social groups, and in blogs from the around the world. We pick up on the things that are different and use them to make our judgments. As our social networks continue to expand, breaking through the previous barriers of cost, distance, and language, our society may actually have to become what we’ve believed it to be: open and accepting.