I love OVERCOMING CAN’T.
While some people may see me as an optimist, my natural instinct is usually pessimism. Especially when it is about trying something new. I’m a scaredy cat. I don’t like failure. I feel that I am naturally inept at a whole lot of things. Some is due to my short attention span, some is due to my lack of hand/eye coordination. Most is just due to my fear of new things and not wanting to try.
I think we often want to live life wrapped in bubble wrap…..protected, but still able to see the outside. We don’t think about the fact that the bubble wrap distorts our vision. Keeps us from really seeing the true beauty of the earth. Keeps us from interacting with life. That bubble wrap may keep us from getting a bruise if we fall down, but may cause us to break our ankle because we can’t see things in front of us.
As I’ve gotten older I have found I am going in the opposite direction than I ever thought I would. I thought growing older meant I earned the right to try fewer new things. Really….that’s what I thought. (Evidence that I felt pressure to try new things and didn’t want to!) The great thing about aging was that you got to remain in your comfort zone and no one pressured you to do anything else. “Old people” didn’t do anything new….they did the expected “old people” things. (You know…. eating at the K&W, driving slowly in front of people who are late, and taking naps.)
As I got older and got closer to earning “old people” status (I officially got there when I qualified for a AARP card, right?), I saw things were a bit different. My friends and family members that are older than me didn’t all do what they were supposed to. They didn’t meet the stereotype. Well, some did…..but they are not the ones that I wanted to be like. The ones I really wanted to be like were the ones of whom people would say “Don’t they know how old they are?” The ones who didn’t slow down…who not only kept going, but seem to be having the time of their lives! They may have retired from jobs, but not from living.
I have found that I have a different view of fear now that I have gotten older. It’s OK. It’s natural. We are weird if we don’t feel it. That doesn’t mean that we have to avoid it. One of the best feelings I have experienced in life is going beyond what I think I can. I don’t always understand why I do things. Often I think is because I am tired of the word “can’t”. Tired of being bested by fear. Tired of meeting my own expectations….but those expectations being low.
I don’t use the word “can’t” much any more. I may say “I don’t want to.” I may say “I don’t like the odds.” I may say “That’s not where I want to invest my time or resources.” I’ve learned that “can’t” is only powerful when I give it power. There are many more options available to me than I ever would have thought. Lack of attention and lack of hand/eye coordination? They’re just excuses, that can be overcome. I have other strengths that can compensate if necessary. We usually aren’t good at things the first time we do things. We fear the new. It’s not just me. It’s the norm.
Great rewards come from doing those things that we thought we could never do. I love overcoming can’t….because I most definitely can.