"A gentleman always accepts the first invitation."
Paraphrased from a coffee table book, you may be wondering how this fits into my life. A friend of mine has often quoted this when relating one of the major problems with young adults today. Let's face it--we are a generation of commitment-phobes. This manifests in the monumental (divorce rates, a "hook-up" culture) and the miniscule (that good ol' "maybe" RSVP that allows you to back out if something better comes along).
Don't get me wrong, I am the queen of the last-minute back out. I always blamed it on my introversion, arriving at a night in question and realizing that I'd much rather stay home and read on the couch. And I'm a space cadet, constantly forgetting the plans I've made and double-booking myself, forcing a choice which inevitably leaves someone abandoned. My Catholic conscience has gifted me with perhaps more guilt than the average Joe about turning tail and running, but I never realized the full impact my selfish whims had until recently.
I've been on the receiving end of the back out a little too often for my liking the past couple months, and it sucks (good use of my abundant vocabulary, I know). It makes me feel like my commitment to the meeting/committee/party/book club/lunch date/tentative plans means absolutely nothing. And it makes me feel just a little less committed to the next one, a little less likely to commit to something else. It's egoistic, belittling, self-perpetuating, injurious, and rampant, and I hate thinking that I've contributed to someone else feeling like this.
I haven't been doing so hot on my attempt to balance egoism and altruism--turns out I'm not as selfless as I'd like to think--but this is a great place to start. Accepting invitations and following through, letting our word mean something, and honoring the commitment of others...is it too optimistic to think we can right our generation one small piece at a time?