Limitations are what other people have. I decided long ago that I might keep having birthdays, but I would not grow old. I would not become bent with osteoporosis nor would I have Alzheimer’s Disease. I would not die an alcoholic and probably not on a barge in the Gulf of Mexico. I did not have those limitations, and, therefore, I did not have any limitations.
Yeah, right. I figured out that I was somewhat wrong when I lost my first job because I was a woman and the company did not want a woman editor of the magazine. A few months later the anti-discrimination statue was passed, and I still believed I was invincible. After that, I never gave limitations more than a passing thought. I lost another job because I was gay; so I got married and was married for almost 25 years to two different husbands. Both of them left me – one fell in love with drugs and one fell in love with the teacher across the hall.
Limitations were still the territory of other people; I simply would not go there. I could be anything I wanted to be, go anywhere I wanted to go, and be good at what I was doing. That worked for a few years, too few. Alcohol robbed me of some good decisions and left me struggling to provide food and shelter, never mind the clothes that I love so well.
Depression was a hole in the ground or the 1930s not a life-threatening condition that I could possibly have. So, I ignored it and kept on moving along and changing jobs and setting new goals. I’ve left behind many unfulfilled goals, many jobs at which I could have been a success, and many towns where having birthdays would have been fun.
When I had my first panic attack, I began to consider limitations, specifically, my limitations. And, when a doctor friend said, “You have asthma, don’t you?”, I knew the jig was up. I did have limitations. I could not be anything that I wanted to be, and certain places were likely to be uncomfortable living from physical, mental and emotional viewpoints.
Limitations have a way of letting us know that some directions are no longer available. Somewhere along the line, I noticed that I could no longer qualify for a job as a Playboy bunny, and my overnight bags bulged with medicine bottles and inhalers. My diet was changing, my exercise patterns were supposed to be changing. Bleah.
Now, I use my limitations (and I have many) to guide me to things that I really can do well regardless of my (here’s that word again) limitations. I still like to challenge the world and those conditions that limit my being and doing, but mostly I work around them. I take what is good and try to make it better. I care for myself in ways that ameliorate the disadvantages.
Limitations are what has spurred me to stick it out in some areas and back off from others. I’ve watched babies grow into young adults; I’ve retired from the demanding fund raising jobs of the past. I’m developing my creativity in arts and crafts now, and I’m having some success. Without recognition of my limitations, I might never have found the happiness I know now.