Today's my 8th wedding anniversary.

 

I woke up this morning all glow-y just thinking about it. But why? We don't have special plans, or do anything crazy, but I love this day, nearly above all others.

I think it's because today is really about commitment.

I'm a fan of the Big Change. I'm changing things all the time. I moved states in 2 weeks. I quit my dayjob. I opened a yarn store. I closed the yarn store as soon as I realized it wasn't for me. I change how I sell yarn almost as often as I think about it.

Change, change, change – I like it!
(I'm singing this now*)
A year ago, when I was trying to decide between creating a line of mill-made yarn to wholesale OR  to write a book, I had dinner with Cairene. I told her, I'm afraid that I'm afraid of commitment. That I won't pick either project because they're just so big and long-term. What if I'm holding myself back because I like to change everything all the time.
And she said something like, “You are NOT afraid of commitment. You're married! You're committed to your business, and to your community. You commit to the stuff that matters, so you'll make good decisions about all the other stuff.”

That has stuck with me, and I remember it when I have big scary choices. I worry that I change too much, that I'm missing out on the benefits of slow and steady…but that's not true. I'm just very picky about my commitments. Because commitments are big, and they give life shape.

Celebrating an anniversary is not about getting married, it's about the commitment I made, not to just not get divorced (that's the bare minimum for being married), but to love this person. To figure him out. To communicate, even when I don't want to. To be vulnerable. To look at my Stuff. To let him communicate, be vulnerable, to see his Stuff, to see his very heart and to choose to react with love and tenderness.

 

 

This commitment isn't just to Jay, it's a commitment to my life. To open up, to experience it all and still stay soft. To show up and choose love and tenderness. It's not a one time thing. Or an every-year thing.
It's a daily thing. I have to daily choose love, tenderness and understanding. In every area of my life, in every relationship (even the one with myself.)

And there's something special about committing to this anew each day. Choosing this commitment again and again provides a kind of constraint to my change. A healthy, creative constraint. It's like writing with a timer on – the constraint allows a great freedom, because you know you can do anything within that. It takes away the Great Blank Page of Life, and fills in the outline.

Knowing that you've got this outline, this shape, creates a safe space to move in. I can change everything about my life, every week if I want, I can explore new things, I can set off on adventures, because of this safety. And the really great thing: it doesn't take the government, or a church, or even flowers (but I did love my flowers).

All it takes is a commitment.
To love. To choose. To live and feel and still, love.

 

*Uh, the words to that song are “chain, chain, chain, chain of fools”…but I, until this very moment, thought she was saying “change, change, change”.   Hmm.

7 Comments on Commitments, change and the Great Blank Page of Life

  1. Kylie
    August 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm (7 years ago)

    So many congratulations on eight years! Wow. I really love this post, and it makes a lot of sense to me how having that structure of commitment could make it feel…possible…to be such an experimenter in business and other things. Yay for committing every day, and every hour, and every minute, to what and whom you love.

  2. Tara Swiger
    August 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm (7 years ago)

    Thank you so much, Kylie! It was so hard to write because, well, I don’t go around talking about how much I love being committed, and especially not online! But it’s a good entry to what I’ve been pondering – that it’s kinda impossible to create work that comes from your you-ness, without it being vulnerable and a little scary. So we have to create a safe space, but how? Commitment to staying open and interacting is one way, but I’m mulling all the other ways (and ways of talking about them).
    So, again, thanks! Thanks for your comment and thanks for making it a little less scary!

  3. Kerry
    August 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm (7 years ago)

    Happy Anniversary! This was so great to read! I also feel like I am always craving change and lack commitment the way you are but have realized that I made a huge commitment to my husband and now my kids. Also, I am committed to finding and doing what I love. I love this notion of committing everyday and being aware that that is what you are doing!

  4. Beverly
    August 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm (7 years ago)

    What a beautiful post. Happy anniversary! You’ve given me much to ponder!!

  5. Tara Swiger
    August 16, 2012 at 11:58 am (7 years ago)

    Thanks so much Kerry!