“Oh, I don’t do commitment”. I’ve heard this phrase said by 20-somethings with conviction and pride. Not that this attitude is unusual for coming-of-age adults, but one thing baffles me: this fervor for non-commitment is also accompanied with a desire for greatness.
I’m not talking about marriage, although usually I hear the bemoaning of commitment in context of relationships: “I don’t think I’ll ever settle down, I enjoy the single life too much.” “I’m not really a ‘commitment’ kind of person.” This attitude is understandable, and not necessarily bad as young Millennials are still trying you figure out who they are, and what they want. But an ongoing lack of commitment has broad implications.
A few examples I’ve seen of commitaphobia: A 20-something who has expensive plans to travel doesn’t have plans to find a job. A college Senior who has no intention (at all) of going into the line of work they have studied. A post-College grad who quits every job he has that isn’t fulfilling. If Millennials fancy themselves a generation of achievers, than they need to learn how to be dedicated. Commitment is essential in achieving anything worth while.
Commitment is part of growing up. Honestly, I cringe a bit when I hear young people bash commitment, because I recognize that attitude in myself around 20 years old. The smug rejection of commitment is actually a child who expects things to work out for them. Way to enforce Millennial stereotypes of being spoiled, smug and naïve. Life happens. Loans, relationships, bills, kids, career. If you don’t do commitment, it will find a way of doing you.
Commitment innately involves risk, which may be what is holding Millennials back: they want the pay off of commitment without personal risk or investment. I hope Millennials discover the great irony is that to be true to yourself, you need to be committed to something outside of yourself. Commitment is not restricting, but actually expanding yourself.
When Millennials learn this they’ll be more willing to take the plunge and commit to finishing school, sticking with a job, paying off a loan, learning a new skill, maybe even a relationship. Make it something you care about, and it will be worth it. Actually, I can’t guarantee that it will be worth it. You will have to take a risk and find out for yourself. It’s much more rewarding (and exciting) than commitaphobia.