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Sometimes You Have to Respect Your Limits

By Charlotte Riddell, Grade 12
Today, I’m not here to talk to you all about my accomplishments, but rather my mistakes, because I have learned a lot from them over the last few months.
I got quite sick at the end of November. I have a total of 85 absences, missed a trip to Mexico and spent the entirety of break and the holidays on my couch. To all of you that know me, I am not the type of person to sit around and twiddle my thumbs. I am someone who constantly has to be seeing something, doing something or pushing myself. Basically, I dislike having to stop myself. Trust me, when I tell you I learned the hard way.

I can almost guarantee that all of you have heard the phrase “the sky’s the limit.” I’m not here to disprove it but rather show you the other side of limits. Although pushing yourself is vital, the other key part is knowing your limits. Knowing when it is time to stop, take a deep breath and reflect. Much like undefined limits in Calc, personal limits need to be understood and defined. During that period, my couch was my limit. Eating made me sick so I stuck to drinking about a cup of chicken broth, if I could, for three weeks. Although maybe I couldn’t physically do anything, it did leave me thinking about many things. Thinking about how if I had stopped earlier and listened to my body, I probably would not be in this current position. If I had stopped earlier, I probably wouldn’t have missed out on so many Christmas festivities.

Limits are defined as restrictions put in place to stay balanced. Unfortunately, sometimes limits are discovered only when they have been surpassed. We are known for being a generation that sees stopping as a weakness. Heck, I even saw myself as weak for having to take a break, let alone how others perceived me. It is one thing to tell yourself that others’ opinions shouldn’t affect you but another to act upon it.

After a while, I came to accept this as a learning experience rather than a complete and utter failure. I came to accept that sometimes life throws unexpected curves and you learn to deal with them. Einstein even says, “When we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”

We all function at different paces, all have different limits, and there is nothing wrong with that. Limits are there for our own good. Our lives are extremely busy trying to balance school, sports, activities, friends and family, especially at Stanstead, an environment where one has very little free time. We shouldn’t let the things that keep us busy lead to our downfall, but rather to our success and happiness.

I believe that doing new things and pushing yourself are essential and highly encouraged, but knowing when to stop is of even higher priority. So, as Mrs. Wolfe always says, “Accept the things you can control and let go of the rest.”