Until recently I never realised or cared too much for the word 'commitment' - thinking that it would somehow take care of itself. It was there, this oft used-in-the-wrong-perspective word, lurking in the background, never truly explored by me. But the day I started saying, perhaps a few months ago, that writing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, did the word start making sense to me. That is what commitment is - for life.
Until then I was - 'writing, hopefully as long as I can, and let's see what happens'. There was no conviction to the whole thing - never felt it. In my mind I was writing for the rest of my life of course, but I was also hoping that some other things would happen - maybe screenplay writing, may be workshop facilitating, lecture tours - it was all a bit hazy, with no real foundation to ground anything on. What gave my whole idea (my existence if I may say so), firm foundation was the commitment that I gave it when I said 'I will write for the rest of my life'. I could feel it all sinking in comfortably. Now it all made some sense.
That commitment gave me a deep sense of purpose. I now know I have 30 odd years, (going by the average human life) to write. I now know how I can space myself out properly. As opposed to the 'hopefully I will write as many books as I can' I now know realistically that I can write 30 books or more. And now I can see myself writing more purposefully as well.
Maybe this is the best part about 'forever' and 'till death do us apart'! You start any relationship with a firm sense of resolve and purpose. You know that this is what you want to work at, and make it work whatever it takes (and not run away at the first sign)! This is for keeps, so give it your best shot, don't give it up, keep at it through the rough periods, establish that body of work, and then, it is a life that is filled with satisfaction, purpose, and a sense of achievement. One can say, I did give it my best shot, after that.
In relationships and in careers, there is an increasing tendency these days to walk off at the first sign of discomfort. But it might make a huge difference if one at least gets into the 'commitment'; with an attitude that says 'I will be here for the rest of my life'. Suddenly the perspective is different, one can plan out one's career, one's growth, one's contributions. It will make a huge difference. Maybe HR departments should run an exercise like this while recruiting and ground the recruits with a firm commitment.
But whatever it is in your life that is important to you, its worth a try to commit forever to certain things and orienting one's life towards that. I suspect that all else that one desires will fall in place if one gets this grounding right, this foundation right. Pick one, get committed, go!
In a way, commitment is also about total responsibility, the sense of purpose that drove some great souls!