I’ve become a person who has commitment issues. Not the kind of relationship-related commitment issues that probably initially come to mind, but the kind where I just can’t commit to anything. At all. It goes against every fiber of my being, but every major commitment I’ve made over the past few months I ended up having to back out of. Right when I got diagnosed with Lyme disease in August 2018 I decided to sell my tickets to Outside Lands, a music festival in San Francisco. I didn’t have the endurance to handle the loud music and intense stimulation, and as hard as it was to let that go it likely would’ve been a miserable weekend for me. In the fall I planned a solo Oregon road trip through Mt. Hood, Smith Rock, and Bend. I cancelled it the day before due to a bad reaction to a new medication. Thankfully all of my planned accommodations were incredibly understanding and offered me credits for a future stay. I planned on doing a yoga teacher training extension program at CorePower Yoga in January that would potentially lead to a teaching position, but then I got strep throat and wasn’t able to attend. You get the point…
Not being able to commit to anything has required me to embrace the concept of living in the moment on a whole new level. I never know when I’m going to be up for an adventure, so planning anything in advance isn’t really an option. The Capricorn within me feels slightly trapped by this, but I have a hunch that this is encouraging a type of growth that I desperately need. I’m not sure how relatable this is for anyone reading, but I imagine we’ve all been faced with an adverse situation in life that feels halting. We all get “stuck”.
I’m very slowly learning to embrace my inability to commit. I’ve gone from being the kind of person that plans out almost every hour of my day every single week to simply having a rough outline of things I need to get done and deciding which tasks to tackle each day when I know how I’m feeling. It’s a change I never saw coming or never would’ve expected myself to adapt to. But, as humans that’s what we do; we adapt to our situation as a means of survival. Adaptation has required acceptance, and acceptance in this circumstance is easily misunderstood as defeat. It’s hard to put this into words, but I do feel that I am striving towards a place of genuine acceptance; and not the defeated kind of acceptance, the kind where I am at peace with my life and current situation. I know this journey is serving a greater purpose, and I feel I am getting closer to discovering what that purpose is. Right now my biggest qualm with not being able to commit to anything is subsequently feeling that I have no direction in life. My gap year after graduating college has nearly turned into two, but my atypical path is something I no longer want to be ashamed of.
We all have to come to terms with things in life. This process for me has almost felt like I am mourning the person I used to be; like part of me is gone right now, and I’m learning to let go of that girl for the time being. I’ve always been one to bury my feelings. I’d distract myself from grief with a loaded calendar filled with overcommitment. I’m physically not able to do that this time around, so I’ve been sitting with this grief and am finally familiarizing myself with the process of accepting it. It’s a process that has had many ebbs and flows, numerous let downs, and lots of disappointment. A few things in particular have gotten me through this trying time, and I want to share them with you:
Surrounding myself with people who love me unconditionally // This has been crucial. I make myself feel guilty all the time for my situation. I feel guilty that I’m not working, I feel guilty when I cancel plans, I feel guilty when I can’t help out with chores, and so on. I’ve let go of the people who made me feel guilty for being sick because I do it enough on my own. Yes, it’s hard. Letting go is never easy. But it’s no longer something I view as a choice. My health, including my mental health, has to come first right now.
Stop comparing myself to others // Social media doesn’t exactly make this one very easy. It seems like all of my friends are moving up in their jobs, traveling the world, hiking amazing trails, getting puppies, and living life in a way I wish I could. Jealousy is an unattractive quality that I don’t want to be overcome by, so I’m learning to watch from the sidelines and be happy for them.
Talking about it // I never thought I’d be one to give advice on talking about difficult feelings because it certainly does not come naturally to me, but letting people know when I feel defeated helps me feel less alone in the process.
Intentionally practicing gratitude // Lyme disease aside, I live a very privileged and fortunate life. I do my very best not to lose sight of this. I’m grateful that I’m able to afford the treatments I need, I’m beyond thankful for the plethora of local & organic produce I have access to in Oregon, and I am especially appreciative of my parents who do everything in their power to make this process as bearable as possible.
Taking advantage of the good days // The good days come and go on their own terms, so when they happen I make the most of it. I go to yoga, I get out and explore Portland, I spend time cooking lots of yummy foods compliant with my ridiculously restrictive diet, etc. I welcome the good days with open arms and a zest for life because they are fleeting. I’ve had a major lesson in surrendering my control in this process.
Reprogramming my definition of success // Our society has defined success as something that typically relates to monetary gain or career advancement. I, like most, want to live a successful life. I worked hard to get into a good college, and graduated with a Finance degree from a top-tier business school. Success in that sense of the word feels very far away to me right now. I’ve had days feeling overwhelmed with apprehension that I won’t ever be successful in the way I once wanted to be. So, I’ve reconditioned myself to acknowledge smaller successes as something important. Getting through a brutal week of antibiotics, having the strength to workout, making new friends, and things of the like are now how I identify myself with the term success.
For a long time I didn’t think I would find this sense of acceptance until I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I fought back by committing to things I shouldn’t have, and payed the price of disappointment when the time came around that I had to take a step back. It was a vicious cycle that I am consciously choosing not to continue. My only commitment right now is to heal. What a concept! This has been my most challenging season of life yet; but there is no point to feel weighed down during the duration of my healing journey, especially since the light at the end of the tunnel is no where in sight yet. My passion for health, wellness, nutrition, and holistic healing is growing immensely right now. How could it not? I’m tuning into this inspiration and allowing it to light me up. All I’ve always wanted to be able to do is help people. Right now, my only means of doing that is by sharing this crazy process.