I don’t want a Can’t life. Do you?

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(Not the dress, but still pretty.)

I went shopping with a friend last Friday evening. While walking through one of the higher-end stores at the mall, a beautiful dress caught our attention and we stopped to admire it. It had a swingy skirt and a colorful print. Very pretty. And very expensive.

I pulled my size from the rack.  My friend scoffed. “Are you going to buy it?”

“Nope. Too expensive.” I headed off for the fitting room.

“But why try on a dress you can’t afford?”

“Because it’s fun.”

And it was. The dress was beautiful and I felt beautiful wearing it, even if just for those few minutes. Then I gave it back to the fitting room attendant and we left.

“You should have tried it on,” I said.

“I just can’t do that.”

Now, I love my friend. We’ve known each other for years, but it made me sad to hear her say this. It wasn’t the first “I can’t” statement she’d made during our evening. Sometimes I challenged her on her Can’ts. Sometimes I just left them alone. Mostly, though, I just listened and thought about my own rules and limitations I put on myself.

After our shopping was done, we went to a restaurant for a late dinner, opting to sit on the patio. No sooner had we ordered when we heard a loud crash and turned in time to see a motorcyclist roll like a hedgehog away from the SUV that had hit him. His bike slid down the road. To our amazement, the biker stood up and walked to the curb.

It was surreal. My friend and I looked at each other wide-eyed and agreed he was one lucky dude. He could have ended up under those tires. That could have been it for him. Game over.

As it could be for any of us at any time.

I’m glad I tried on the pretty dress I couldn’t afford. I’m glad I experienced feeling beautiful wearing it, even if it was just for a couple of minutes by myself standing in front of a fitting room mirror. That’s a memory I have now tucked away. A feeling I can keep with me.

But what about my rules and limitations? Where am I holding myself back, keeping myself out of the game, telling myself “I can’t”?

I don’t want to live a Can’t life. I want to gather experiences, to drink them in, to build memories and carry them with me. I want my world to expand. I don’t want to build walls that hedge me in.

I posted this in hopes that you might ask yourself these questions. That you might resolve, like me, to be done with your Can’ts and to choose instead to expand your world.

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4 thoughts on “I don’t want a Can’t life. Do you?

    Amanda Hoving said:
    June 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Such a great post and reminder, Amy! I try to be a “can” person (which can be hard in the writing biz when you are often being told “sorry, no thanks”). But “can’t” is so final. “Can” is still full of possibility.

    amy said:
    June 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    what a great post. i’m a “Can’t” girl myself, but this will definitely have me thinking about it…. thank you.

    Amy Sundberg said:
    June 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I love this post, Amy, and I love you! Thanks for the reminder. I don’t want to live a Can’t life either.

    aloi said:
    July 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

    what a great post! thanks for sharing :) it’s a pity your friend never tried the dress on. it’s moments like these that i want to keep living for!

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