I have limitations. They teach me.
When I was young, I didn’t really think about limitations. You may remember the feeling of being immortal and indestructible – then along comes something and ‘bang!’ – you’re more Clarke Kent than Superman.
As I get older I have more aches and pains, can’t drink as much, can’t concentrate for as long… let alone escape from realising my mortality. There are lots of things I could do to give myself the illusion of staying young and unlimited – getting really fit and running a marathon for example – yet I know the truth deep down.
I have a friend who has MS. She has to think about her limitations even more than I do, and take care of herself, or they rapidly become worse. I have other friends who have met their limitations in dramatic ways, physical or emotional, and have had to learn about themselves to cope.
I said my limitations teach me. They teach me who I am, how I react to pain, crisis and failure. They teach me to care for myself, not to treat my body, mind and emotions as limitless commodities. They contain me; without their boundaries I might go on forever and never find the edge of myself. They teach me to value life; to enjoy today because that is all I may have.
It is easy to keep pushing yourself forever, until you feel your limitations. As I meet mine, I am grateful for them coming gradually, so that I can ease my way into them. I am also grateful that they require me to relax, give myself time, stop pushing ever onwards. I wish that lesson might have come earlier, but I needed my limitations to really get it.
I won’t lie – part of me wants to be young and live forever. But another part is really grateful for my limitations. Just as well – I don’t see them going away any time soon…