Home > Random Musings > Can, Can’t, and Limitations

Can, Can’t, and Limitations

 

There are things I know how to do.

Change a tire. Sew a button. Write a complete sentence. I can bake a cake, too. And I have been known to ride a horse backward. (Don’t try that at home, kids.)

But there are some things I just cannot do. There are some skills I can’t develop, let alone master. I do not have it in me to learn how to speak in Pig Latin. I am horrible at remembering road names. I give excellent directions, if you can follow something like, “When you get to the blinky light, turn left.” (I’m not always that bad.)

Everyone has a skill set. Sometimes, we excel. Other times, we’re able to amble along in mediocrity. I don’t think anyone wants to sit there, toiling in the middle ground of Passable and Comfortable, but it happens.

But look at what I said: there are some things I just cannot do.

I’ve doomed myself before I’ve even started. I’ve begun with I can’t. In which case, pack it in and go home. Or whatever tired metaphor fits there.

You can’t do something if you say that you can’t. It’s impossible, unless life creates some kind of Happy Accident Vortex. Once that happens, we’ll also find Godot. And the reason why Nicholas Cage keeps making movies where his hair should get a film credit. (DUDE, it’s ALIVE.)

I don’t know why I just used the word ‘dude.’ Hmm. Moving on.

You can’t succeed if you don’t try. This applies to everything. Life. Art. Work. Relationships.

Especially relationships. How often do we exclaim things like, I can’t handle this, I’m never going to find someone, or I don’t know what to say, or I can’t talk to her/him.

Can’t, in those instances, might as well be won’t. It’s a cop out. An excuse. When things are tough, or scary, or unexpected – that is when you find out who you are. Who other people are. Where you stand, and if it’s on solid ground or you’ve wandered into the fireswamp. AGAIN.

To a certain degree, I think a lot of things can be learned. You can learn how to love. You can learn how to speak Mandarin. You can learn to forgive. You can try to understand. You can build something. You can create something. You can cook. You can bake.

Yes, mistakes might be made. You might burn your fingers. Or worse, your heart. You might feel completely wretched and panicked. You might forget your lines. You might make a fool out of yourself.

That’s nothing. These are things that you can control. These are choices you can make. What’s scarier, scariest perhaps, are the things you cannot chose. What you cannot hope to ever change.

Yes, there are things I cannot do. I cannot walk on water. I will never fly. There’s a reasonably safe bet that I will not cure a disease or turn water into wine.

But I can change a tire. I can sew a button. And I can write a complete sentence. I know that I will never stop learning, and it will never be enough.

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  1. March 15, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I very much liked this, Ali. I have a problem with believing that just because I failed at certain things when I was younger, I can’t do them well now. For example, I was a terrible Shop and Home Ec student…so I tend to put off home repairs and cooking as much as I can. But I have learned some skills since then, and a lot of it is just practice. If I keep avoiding it like the plague or being shy about trying it, no wonder I fail. 🙂 Yes, I do know what I do best, but I need to also stop trying to avoid the things I do worst.

    “Especially relationships. How often do we exclaim things like, I can’t handle this, I’m never going to find someone, or I don’t know what to say, or I can’t talk to her/him.
    Can’t, in those instances, might as well be won’t…” Well-said…

    • Ali
      March 16, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Oh, man. If I gave up on everything I sucked at as a kid, I would’ve never sewed a button. I recently learned how to take a sink apart, clean the pipes, and reassemble it. *grin*

      Thank you for reading this — and for commenting. I’m really glad that you enjoyed this. 🙂

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