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Explore Life Coaching, Patti Phillips

Do you do, because you can?

It’s hard to believe that this beautiful summer is continuing into September. I don’t think I can remember a summer that has had
such warm temperatures consistently without rain. And, the absolute icing on the cake has been the lack of mosquitoes. To be outside, any time of day or night, in the city or  in natural areas, without the need for insect repellent and the constant buzz around the eyes and ears really is something to truly appreciate.   

I have done my best to take as many opportunities as possible to be outside. Last week, I was packing up my car with tent and kayak (one of many nature outings this summer) when my neighbour came over to observe my actions. Her comment was “you sure do spend a lot of time away from home”. Without thought or premeditation, my response was “I do because I can.”

At that moment, it seemed like a simply retort, but the phrase “I do because I can” really sat with me for the next three days when I
was on my camping trip. I starting thinking about all the things I may not do because I shouldn’t, even though I can.

The most obvious example of this was the process I went through for this very camping trip, which almost didn’t happen. I had been considering these dates to get away to my favourite camping site in Manitoba at Black Lake for much of the summer. But as the date drew nearly, I was adding up all the days I had already been away and asking myself many questions. Do I deserve another mini-vacation? What will people think of me spending so much time at play? Should I be staying home to catch up on house chores that I haven’t yet gotten to this summer? Should I be staying home with my pets? I’m already going away for Labour Day; is this too much? Will I feel guilty being away from my partner (again) who is at a have-to-go job? Should I spend money on this or is something else more important? It all pointed to “I should not!”

I really had to work hard to give myself permission to go and do something that I knew would nourish my spirit. I could go because I had nothing scheduled. I could go because the total cost was easily affordable. I could go because I could take my dog with me and she would love it. I could go because my partner always encourages me to do the things I love to do without guilt. I could go because it totally fit with my lifestyle and my choices…I didn’t need to worry about others’ opinions about how I spend my time.  So, I did because I could.


This scenario did get me thinking about all the things I, and I assume other people, have not done simply because they shouldn’t, rather than because they couldn’t. There are enough restrictions and actual barriers that truly prevent a person from doing some of the things that they would like to do, that self imposing restrictions really seem silly. There rarely is enough time, money, energy, motivation, and support, all existing at the same moment, so when it does happen, we should all take advantage of it. Any chance we get to do things, is a golden opportunity to connect with ourselves. I want to be clear that I’m talking about “doing” and not “consuming”. This isn’t about buying that new outfit or getting the house redecorated. It’s singing. It’s dancing. It’s creating art. It’s riding a bike. It’s writing. It’s cooking. It’s playing in nature. It’s you being you instead of being who you are supposed to be.

Do you do, because you can?

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