Stop Putting Limits on Living

This is one of four posts on life and how my perspective of it has drastically changed the past three months. The transition started July 2018, but it has taken me until this spring to fully realise the path I travelled up until last July has changed. From the outside, I look the same (except I’ve lost over 35 pounds). The major changes have taken place inside. It’s like someone else’s brain fell into my head, and it’s looking around thinking, let’s renovate this life. There will be exceptions to how I think, but the exceptions don’t change the rule.

I’m writing these for two reasons: 1) to remind me of my journey and where I really want to go (out there, beyond where I’ve been); 2) to share my experience with the hope others will be inspired to change their perspective, so they can live a better life. My journey has been helped by those who put into words a better way to live.

Last fall, while sitting around dreaming about what 2019 would give me, something clicked in my brain: I didn’t want it to give me anything; I wanted to earn and control what entered my life, take what awaited me. I could only do that if I had the courage to change my attitude, the way I looked at my life and what I was willing to give in return.

I won’t beat around the bush: we are all capable of doing great things. We can produce the argument, the excuses to say otherwise, but we’re only avoiding the truth. When the buzzer goes, the sticks are put away and the ice is melted, we will look back at this game of life and either say, we gave it all and did the best we could, or I could have done better. It’s ALL on you.

Never has there been a time when someone who has nothing have the opportunities to accomplish so much. The only thing stopping us are the limits we place on ourselves.

Let’s start with limits. For the past decade, I’ve often joked about someone drawing that line I couldn’t cross. That’s a limit to me, and I finally decided no one was going to tell me what I could and couldn’t do. When someone told me “I draw the line at (fill in the blank)”, I got in the habit of  saying, “Thanks for showing me the line to cross.”

Here’s how that sounds:

  • “I draw the line at four days at the camp.” [Say hello to 10 awesome days fishing and biking.]
  • “I draw the line at three goats.” [Another goat magically appeared in the barn.]
  • The one I love most: “I draw the line at one donkey.”

You know how that went down. Meet Mayzie and Annie.

You’d think people would stop drawing lines for me to cross.

Deep down, I knew these lines, those drawn by others and by myself, were only imaginary. They could have been drawn anywhere and were drawn from the perspective of the individual, perhaps one who couldn’t see opportunity or who was too afraid to take a chance.

Unfortunately, silly lines drawn for something as simple as “I draw the line at one piece of pizza” has turned into drawing lines for living. We don’t talk about these lines; they’re often self-imposed.

Think about the times you’ve heard someone say,

  • I’ll never finish writing this book.
  • I won’t ever sell a copy of my book.
  • I’ll never make a living from writing.”

That translates into:

  • I draw the line at writing four chapters.
  • I draw the line at just getting the book published.
  • I draw the line at selling ten books.

They’re drawing lines they don’t plan to cross. They’re convincing themselves they can’t do it. Hogwash. If they really wanted to, they would. Obviously, the higher the goal, the less likely you’ll reach it but if you don’t try, you’ve already failed.

Over the past six months, I have realised these lines are ridiculous. Why put limits on living? I’ve mentally worked at removing these mostly self-imposed lines in my life when it comes to the person I am and what I can achieve. They were cast on me as a child, as a teenager by those around me who had drawn lines for themselves. There is no limit to what I can accomplish through my writing. I need only accept the possibility and keep moving; once you have momentum, it gets easier.

When I look to the future, I see endless oceans with no walls, no obstacles, no lines. It’s vast, and when I think about what awaits me, I get excited. My heart flutters like I’m about to let go of the rope swinging over the swimming hole, or when I anticipate that first kiss from a new love. It catches my breath, and a part of me that has lain dormant for decades awakens. It’s an amazing feeling to see the endless possibilities, and I’m excited to be on this journey.

The next ten years will be the best in my life. It’s all mine. I feel like I’m on the cusp of something huge, magical, unbelievable, and all I have to do is erase those lines and grasp the opportunities that will take me in the right direction.

10 thoughts on “Stop Putting Limits on Living

  1. […] I’m a visual person, and while my heart pounds when in that rush of growth, my eyes see flashes of a mine filled with shiny gems. One gem rises above the others and glows brightly. I’m unsure of what this gem represents: confidence, a bright future, the endless possibilities? If I close my eyes, I can hold the image for a few seconds, but then it’s gone like a wisp of smoke in the wind. I allow this feeling to run freely, and it erases every line I’ve ever drawn for myself. […]

  2. Love your enthusiasm for life Di. It’s good to draw lines to give us a goal. so we can reach beyond once we reach the goal, and from there who knows where we end up. 🙂

    • You’re welcome. Life is a journey; sometimes we’re not in the driver’s seat but given time, with determination we can be. Then it becomes our journey, one we map on our own terms.

  3. The quote by Robert Downey Jr. is ill-advised. Nobody can ever know enough about enough people to be accurately knowledgeable about what “people” are like/will do/think/etc.

    • I assume you mean the first quote, the one about changing. When I first read it, I was like you and thought, “No, people do change because of threat and duress.” The quote kept coming back to me, time passed, my perspective continued to change and I asked questions to myself regarding the quote. From one perspective, it’s not true, but from another, it is.

      I’ve seen people under threat, their lives at risk. I’ve seen people live in horrible conditions, ones they could escape if they just did one simple thing. I’ve also lived through a few dark years where I allowed things to happen to me. Regardless of the misery I and others went through, we continued on that horrible path. The thing that spurred me to do something wasn’t the horrible conditions, but the hope of a better life.

      Hope. It’s a four-letter word that divides those who surrender from those who survive. In some ways, it’s more vital to our well-being than love. That hope of a better life is what makes people change. If there was no hope, then why bother changing.

      I understand if this quote doesn’t resonate with you. Maybe one day it will. It depends on perspective. Over the years, some quotes I loved have been tossed aside because I’m living in a different place. Quotes others live by make no sense to me. How many times have you heard, “Life is short.” It is if you die before the age of 30. Many of us don’t though. I see life as long. It’s so long, we forget most of it. But it’s all in the perspective.

      I noted at the beginning of this post that there are exceptions (there’s always exceptions), but they don’t change the rule. I apply that to all in life, including Downey’s quote.

      Thank you for your comment. I’m sure others will agree with you. We all see things from the perspective in which we live at the moment.

Please Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.