Limitations…maybe not so bad after all
Limitations have been given a really bad reputation. People see them as negative; that holding you back or preventing you from doing the Next Thing is akin to failure. I see this in some cases, and even agree with it. But I’m starting to see that sometimes, limitations can have silver linings.
I’ve been learning a lot over the past year about my own limitations. It’s not an easy lesson to learn, and I rarely learn it gracefully, but I’d like to think I’m making some progress.
A little background: as a kid, my parents worked full time like many others. On weekend, there was housecleaning to do, errands to be run, and just general Stuff To Be Done. My father’s method of relaxation, other than downing several glasses of gin in front of the TV, was to work in his wood shop in the basement. My mother’s was either to play solitaire (with real cards!) or read. But at no time in my memory can I call up a weekend in which my parents just chilled.
Think about that. We have a rough couple of weeks at work, we might take a rainy Saturday and not get out of our PJs. We’ll make some tea, read a good book, watch some Netflix, nap, but we take the day “off”. My parents? Oh hell no. And really, it wasn’t just them. I cannot ever remember my friends’ parents doing it either. Laziness was simply not a thing. That got so ingrained into me that, to this day, I feel intense guilt if I just blow off a weekend day and do nothing. The Musician still gives me crap for the time I had H1N1 and was too weak to get out of bed, but still had the kids bring me laundry to fold. I just don’t know how to do “slacker”.
But lingering effects from a head injury last summer (car accident), knee surgery this summer, along with an insane work schedule, have all dragged me into the realm of CTFO. I’m feeling less guilt about napping when I have the chance. I’m less stressed when I “waste” a few hours working on a quilt or some other creative project. Maybe there’s something to this slacker stuff!
The emotional limitations are a little harder for me to reconcile. My job has a stress level that burns people out on a regular basis, and I’m getting close. What really frosts my cookies, though, is that the mental exhaustion is spilling over into my Real Life. It’s making me have a shorter fuse, it’s making me unable to give to others as much as I’d like to, and it starts to weave itself into the physical side as well.
I had a friend with whom I was pretty close who was going through some stuff. She drifted away and pretty much quit talking to me, and I still don’t know why. Was it something I did? Or was it just her own issues? No clue. But after reaching out a few times and having it go nowhere, I gave up trying. That makes me sad because I think that maybe if I had more mental/emotional energy, I would’ve tried harder.
I also got into a relationship last year. She’s a great person, and I still consider her to be one of my closest friends, but anything beyond that kinda faded off into the sunset this spring. There’s culpability for it on both sides, but the lion’s share, I believe, lies with me. I just didn’t have enough energy “left over” after work and Family to give to anything else. This too, saddens me a bit, as my job situation isn’t changing any time soon. The insanity and chaos of my life can be draining, and it affects so much more than the 9-5 hours of the day.
As much guilt as I carry for my emotional and physical limitations, I’m starting to see them almost more of safety barriers. I pushed too far while hiking after my knee surgery and set my recovery back several months. Now being forced to rest more is helping. Knowing I’ve hit the wall of stress or mental/emotional exertion prevents me from snapping.
I’m still not entirely comfortable with the whole thing, and I’m still dealing with some guilt for not being able to be Wonder Woman, as the Scientist phrases it. But hopefully I’ll get there.