My wish for 2017: know your limitations

My wish for 2017: know your limitations

Encore – By Rafiek Mammon

Sadly, this is the last Encore I shall be writing. Like most good things, this too has run its course. Thank you kindly to all who read it. I wish I could say I shall miss it like a limb that was severed. I won’t. I will say this though: I’ll miss it like I would an orange, if they were ever to ban oranges in the world.

Nothing wrong with limitations – in fact, the more you realise what yours are, the better your life will be…the better you will be able to manage your life. Knowing your limitations simply means knowing yourself – and while I am not promulgating concentrating on them, I am saying stop thinking like someone you are not and then pursuing that person because of clichés like “the world is your oyster” and the “sky is the limit.”

And I am definitely saying we need to play to our strengths and even try to turn some of our weaknesses into strengths, if possible. But, since the advent of social media, especially Facebook, everyone is has become a publicist for their lives willy-nilly…“look at me, and how fabulous my life is, and how beautiful I am and…and…and…” I am really not sure who they are trying to convince of their fabulous lives: their so-called “friends” on Facebook or themselves. I know some of these people personally, not virtually. I know how they struggle with day-to-day life, and I know of their immense insecurities, fears and feelings of hopelessness. Yet, none of it is reflected in their Facebook posts. And they post tons of pictures – and I mean tons of pictures – of their often unfortunate-looking sons and daughters (or of themselves), thinking the world must be interested, not questioning for a minute that maybe, just maybe, it is overkill! So, my calculus may not be up to snuff, but when I add two and two together I don’t seem to be balancing the spreadsheet called life!

And it seems as though only achievements are spoken of, (like making babies – something people seem to think is an “achievement”) and going for a “peddy” (a pedicure) when their feet look worse than elephant trotters – feet that should be nowhere near a pedicurist. And practically everyone on Facebook is now a medical doctor-cum-mechanic-cum-stylist-cum-insurance broker-cum-comedian-cum journalist-cum (sorry just wanted to put in another “cum”…can’t for the life of me think why…)

This “free-for-all” bullsh!t that says “you can be whatever you want to be…” is what creates so many disappointments and feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and failure. I mean this sincerely. Telling everyone to “reach for the stars” is not always a good thing. And why? I’ll tell you why…because nobody teaches (especially) our young ones to deal with failure. They love encouraging them to “go for it” and to “be the best you can be” and “to be yourself” – but nobody ever asks the youngsters “who are you”? For, in order to “be yourself” you first have to know who the hell you are! But because adults I know don’t know who they themselves are, they are unable to help little ones answer that question.

And, in terms of goals, I reckon if you set your sights a bit lower and if you really know what and who you are (or at the very least your limitations) making goals more practical, more achievable – how fat or small or otherwise you are, it might help you set and achieve your goals better. And remember, “one day” is not an actual day. An achievable, doable goal is an infinitely better thing to set for yourself. When you reach it, you will feel good, promise. Pies in the sky are exactly that – a pie in the sky that often leaks egg on your face!

Stop looking for the model girlfriend with long blonde hair on the Net when the slightly plump, frumpy girl next door with the frizzy hair is the perfect match for you! Stop thinking you can still get that perfect job: at age 40+ you should know that no such thing exists. And when “close-to-perfection” comes a-knocking, don’t turn it away – it might just be the next best thing!

I know I will never be a prima ballerina or run the 100m in sub-eleven seconds. I also know what looks good on a mannequin in a shop window in all likelihood won’t look good on me. And that is okay. We spend most of our lives trying to figure out who and what we are – and believe me, who you are changes all the time. When you have half-decent answers, run with it…make hay, enjoy! It is a markedly better space to be in than those who are constantly in search…and search…and search…and all they get is life eluding them. As Ms Mitchell so consistently reminds us: “I’ve looked at life from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow it’s life’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know life at all…”

Email: rafiek@mweb.co.za

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