It wasn’t until I became convinced that life as I knew it wouldn’t come to a screeching halt that I was able to entertain the prospect of forever. I always believed that marriage would be a ball and chain around my ankle, cramping my considerable style and damning me to hausfrau hell for all eternity. Turns out I was dead wrong. It was the kids who were the real balls and chains. Just kidding, my darling boys.
When we commit to one thing, we pay the opportunity costs of being able to choose something else. And what if we’re wrong? What if we find something better elsewhere? After all, the grass is always greener on the other side (which turns out not to be true–I’ve spoken to a number of my divorced friends who assure me that life after marriage is not all that fun, and dating in mid-life is kind of like trying to find the way out of an Escher drawing, frustrating without much discernible progress.
Zelda has a different problem with commitment, which is based on her unfortunate upbringing by a narcissistic witch of a mother. Given that I was raised by a narcissistic bitch of a mother, Zelda and I are practically twins separated at birth. Narcissistic parents raise distrustful children who grow up to be adults with serious confidence issues– both in terms of self confidence and confidence in others. Me and Zelda, we’ve got that going on. Zelda doesn’t want to get attached to anyone or anything because she doesn’t plan to stick around, so why bother to develop feelings that will inevitably get hurt? No gain beyond a designer dud, no pain. Seems simple enough.
Have you ever gone to someone’s house and there’s nothing hanging on the walls? Usually they say something like, “Yeah, well, we never hung the paintings because we figured we’d only be here a year or two.” Meanwhile, they’ve been living in that bare-walled box for going on seven years. These are people with commitment issues– not getting attached to physical spaces is usually just the tip of the phobic iceberg; my guess is that folks like this have trouble committing to an entree selection. They get their order, but want to trade with you halfway through. You know these types. Hell, you might even be one of them.
Like Zelda, however, I have learned over time that making a choice and sticking to it can be quite satisfying. I’m still deliriously happy that I decided to marry my sainted husband. And that we put down roots here in Annapolis and raised our family in one place (although the wanderlust in my soul has had to be placated with lots of travel to cool places to see awesome friends as a counterbalance to remaining in our home). There is power and beauty in commitment. There is growth in commitment, including expansion of the heart. Commitment can even make a heart as small as the Grinch’s grow three sizes at a stretch. And I thought it was just my hips that were expanding.
At the end of Switching Hour, Zelda embraces her destiny. She also bags the hot guy and decides she can tolerate living in the middle of nowhere, as long as she can continue to rock the ultra chic wardrobe (which looks ridiculous in West Virginia, of course, but this is a fantasy book). I guess when you put it like that, happily ever after starts to look pretty good. I can commit to that.