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It seems to me that we often commit ourselves wholly to something while knowing almost nothing concrete about it. Another word for that, I suppose, is 'faith.'

Zadie Smith

The remarkable thing about children is that when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up, they don’t hesitate to tell you. A veterinarian, a musician, a firefighter, they’ll say with the confidence of a politician. And yet they know nothing concrete about any of these professions. Whether it's how many years of study are needed, the danger of thousand degree blazes, or the discipline it takes to be an accomplished musician.

So how do we recapture that kind of commitment, that kind of faith? And more importantly, why does it matter?

Let’s start there.

Few words illustrate the idea of dichotomy the word "commit" does. In English, it's tied to crime and marriage. You can both commit to a partner and also can commit a crime. Growing up, I had great examples of both. My parents have been happily married for 42 years. And neither committed any crimes. But there were other ways I learned about commitment.

When I was 12, I wanted to study cello. I had been playing the violin for 2 years. I begged my mother until she relented. I could play the cello, said agreed, so long as I kept up the violin. In the end, I played both instruments for a time but more skilled in violin, I stopped my cello lessons and stuck with the violin.

My commitment paid off, literally. My playing earned me a scholarship at university.

Later on, commitment took on the form of love. At 35, I married a childhood sweetheart. I spent weeks on my vows and earnestly said them to him in an intimate family wedding. But it wasn’t until I boarded a plane for Vietnam where he worked that I understood commitment. He would experience commitment for himself, too. Two years later, he followed me to study medicine in China.

The earliest meaning of "commit" suggests the “joining” together of not only people, such as in when we join relationships or companies, but also our Selves to our ideas.

When we commit to people or ideas, we are connecting invisible lines that tether us to our imagination.

This is why it is so easy for children to commit. It's not because they know nothing. It's because they haven’t forgotten how to dream.

Kaho is the founder and photographer of the blog Chuzai Living, a lifestyle blog with a focus on interior design and travel, and a yoga instructor. She is originally from Japan and an adult third culture kid (TCK). She hopes to inspire and empower others through her blog to live fully and happily while living abroad.

Kaho spoke to EP Manila about how blogging has helped her find her voice while supporting her Texan husband's career and raising three children overseas. Blogging has provided her numerous professional opportunities over the past 10 years.

Amie Pollack, PhD is a Clinical Psychologist from the United States.

From 2009 – 2018 she served as a Senior Research Associate at Vanderbilt University and a Visiting Professor at Vietnam National University. From 2018 – 2019 she was Director of Research and Development at VinaCapital Foundation.

Throughout her career, Amie’s work has focused on the development of mental health research, service and training capacity in Vietnam and Cambodia. She works with universities, hospitals, ministries and NGOs to design and evaluate mental health services and programs.

Amie is currently serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors at the United Nations International School (UNIS) of Hanoi. She lives in Hanoi with her husband and two children.

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