Have you ever found yourself using this phrase? “I could never…” Fill in the blank for yourself. We have all said it, but have we stopped to think about what it really means? I’ll share with you one of my very adamant “I could nevers”. I could never get up at 6 am to go running! I am really not a morning person and I absolutely hate running. I really can’t think of anything that sounds more miserable to me than forcing myself out of bed just to put on running shoes and head down the road as the sun is coming up. Really…not my idea of a good time. But some people love it! And I admire them for it! We are all different.
I have heard a lot of “I could nevers” since we moved to our off-grid homestead. It has been used to cover a wide variety of activities and subjects. There have been so many examples. “I could never do laundry in a bucket!” “I could never homeschool my children!” “I could never live without air conditioning!” I have heard a lot of “I could nevers” over the last few years.
Can I be really honest here? For a while, every time I heard the phrase directed toward me, I began to get a little annoyed. Their remarks were not personal and I shouldn’t have taken them that way. I had just heard the same thing so many times that I was beginning to let it get to me. It felt as if they were saying that I was in some way some kind of super woman for being able to do something that they could never do. Or maybe I was blessed with some kind of emotional or physical fortitude that they were not blessed with. Or maybe things were just easier for me than most.
The reality is that I am absolutely none of those things! I’m not super woman. I am not blessed with any more physical or emotional strength than the average person. I know I have struggled. Adjusting to living off-grid has not always been easy. So, how have I done the things that it requires when so many tell me over and over again that they could never do it? I guess the short answer is that I am committed to it because I see the value in living this way. I love living this way! And then it began to dawn on me that “I could never…” doesn’t really mean that at all. It really just simply means, “I DON’T WANT TO!” Can’t you just hear a little child stamping his foot when he says that? “I don’t want to and you can’t make me, na-na na-na!”
I really DON’T want to go running at 6 am in the morning! So there. No more discussion. But if I am honest with myself, I must admit that I really can do anything that I set my mind to. I just don’t want to set my mind to go running at 6 am. Most often what we say we could never do is not about what we can or cannot physically do (although some people have definite physical limitations and disabilities), but what we desire to do. I think that we need to work on our language because our words really do mean a lot. When we say “I could never…” we are limiting the possibilities for our lives. I would love to be in better shape. What am I willing to do to get there? I would love to live an off-grid life. What am I willing to do to get there? All of a sudden, getting up to run at 6 am sounds like a means to an end instead of complete misery. Doing laundry in a bucket becomes the definition of freedom because it means that you can live wherever you want without paying an electric bill.
Instead of saying “I could never” maybe we should say, “I don’t want to,” and be honest with ourselves. We don’t all have the same goals for our lives, but if we keep saying “I could never” whenever anything sounds too difficult we might really miss out on defining what those goals really are. I think being honest with ourselves about the goals for our lives is important, otherwise we will just drift by and never get to where we really want to be. And honestly, when we evaluate our goals instead of constantly saying “I could never,” maybe…just maybe we will find that we really can do things that we never thought we could or would want to do.