In It For The Long Haul: A Commitment Manifesto

Kara Mulder Red Lipstick

“Please. I can’t even commit to a lipstick.”

I laugh when you say that I should own the t-shirt that broadcasts this statement. I smirk when you ask me for the thousandth time who I’m dating now or what hot guy I’ve met recently. I’m praised for my independence and need for no one. My life is envied as I flit and flutter freely all over the world. This— my personality and profession—make one assume I know nothing about commitment. My lifestyle makes it seem as if I commit to nothing. You ask me when I’m coming back and I say, ‘I don’t know.’ You wonder why I haven’t called in a while. You question where I am in the world. You wonder if I care.

I don’t tell when I’m coming back, because I don’t know. Disappointing you breaks me, and I don’t want to tell you that once again I missed a flight. That I’m too tired. That I just won’t make it to see you today. You matter, but all that you see is the ease in which I flake. That ease at which I can walk away. The ease at which I break commitments.

What I see is that I am just being true to my commitments; the commitments that you might not understand completely.

I am committed to being a flight attendant. I’m attached to being a blogger. I’m dedicated to the dream, the adventure, and the path that I’m on; that I am choosing to create. Of course, I fucking don’t commit to a lipstick. I have bigger things to ponder than if the pink is hot enough or the red is deep enough. I hate being taken for someone who cannot commit. So don’t judge me that way, just because I’m here one day and gone the next, uncertain as to when I will return.

Trust me when I say that I do know commitment.

I know the burning pain and heartache that only commitments can bring. I understand the reward of sticking with something before a payout ever seems like even a slight possibility. I know commitment in a way that looks different to most. It looks like lonely hotel rooms, jet lag, late-night client phone calls, catching up on emails, and doing everything to keep in touch with those that ground my soul and encourage my heart. Sometimes, this commitment just looks messy.

I know the commitment that stays when all seems lost. I know the commitment that is fueled by passion, sprinkled with courage, and dotted with prayer. My commitments don’t look like a husband, boyfriend, home, 9-to-5, or being in the same country for more than four days at a time, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get it. My friend Merriam Webster tells me that a simple definition of commitment is—

: a promise to do or give something

: a promise to be loyal to someone or something

: the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something

I have promised. I have been loyal. I have worked so hard to support. I realize and have experienced the sacrifices that committing requires, for I have sacrificed. I have sacrificed home. I have sacrificed sleep. I have spent more holidays alone than I can count. I have cried looking out more airplane windows than care to remember. I have written and slaved and dreamed over this blog for YEARS before anyone even knew it existed. I did this because I commit.

If you question whether flight attendants can commit, due to a lifestyle that requires fluidity and spontaneity, ask them why they do what they do? Why they go to work. Why they leave the ones they love. Why they don’t just pursue ‘the conventional.’

Conventional society praises the non-committal, the ones who play the game well, act aloof, and don’t commit to life and plans and purpose. We’ve got commitment all wrong because truly it’s one of the most beautiful and rewarding adventures you will ever embark on— the act and art of sticking with something, someone, or some project even when you can’t see the reward in the moment.

I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t have a home in the traditional sense. I don’t live the conventional life that I sometimes want more than anything— more than the countries, more than this blog, more than all of the beautiful sunsets I have seen from every Dreamliner window. I can’t see the end right now, I just know I’m here and I’m committed to that. And the beauty and the pain and the frustrations and the failings that come along with being loyal to my journey.

I’m in it for the long haul. All of it. It’s all of it because commitment requires all of you.

So if you think me or the next flight attendant cannot commit, maybe you should stop looking at her lipstick color. Shit— of course, I can’t commit to a lipstick. It doesn’t matter if it’s pink, red, yellow, glitter covered, purple (unless your flying, then it’s all about compliance). You commit to those things that matter. Change your lipstick, but don’t change your commitments. Those matter.


About the Author Kara

Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.

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