These words have been part of my family for as long as I can remember. They are strong, meaningful and created a way of life for us. The poor me was always countered with ‘you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.’ When my sister cooked and burnt her first dinner my Dad raved about how delicious it was. If we complained about doing the dishes my Dad danced the third person around the house then came and changed partners til we were all smiling and the work was done.
Every project and change in life involves taking risks but what is worse is living with regret for not stepping forward and trying. It’s hard sometimes to step out of your comfort zone and take the road less travelled. Your heart says yes but the ego/mind says you can’t possibly do that: you may fail - you’re not good enough - people will make fun of you. We need to remember a mistake is just a learning experience, another challenge. We are all capable of more then we ever imagined if we are just open to opportunity and desire. All life is not perfect . Both my sister and I ended up with difficult marriages and divorces but the underlying solid base we grew up with prepared us for and helped us through these challenges and made us stronger. There is no such word as can’t.
Fifty-one years ago my friend and I travelled around the world in every mode possible including a lot of hitch hik-ing. We had a dream, made a plan and worked for 3 years to save the money. (In 1967 the trip cost us $3000 each). Both us and our parents had no idea what such a trip would entail. Being unknown was a great asset for all of us because the possibilities were open ended. We were 21 and very naive about any kind of travel so our experiences were always a surprise. Mostly good and occasionally not so good.
The worst challenge was when my purse was stolen while I slept in a hostel. I lost my passport, my travellers cheques and my plane ticket home. I called it a Black Day and felt I was now a nobody. I needed to somehow re-trieve my life and in those days there was no Canadian consulate in the country we were in. My mothers words ‘there is no such word as can’t’ were buried deep inside and kept me sane. My friend supported me, then unexpected help arrived and I crossed the border in the trunk of a car to a consulate that could help.
The final words in my diary many months later were “Imagine me having been all the way around the world. I know I’ve learned a lot about people, geography, history, love, sadness and being able to cope with situations that seemed impossible.” There is no such word ‘can’t’.