The philosophers and deep thinkers of the world have always preached that we are limited only by ourselves.
We've all been told that if we study and work hard that there's no limit to how far we can go.
I applied for a sales job once, and the manager told me that my income would be limited only by my effort. I declined the job because I'm a slacker by nature and I figured he'd be paying me with his pocket change.
I hate to rain on the potential parade, but the truth is we live in a world full of limits. There are speed limits, time limits, credit limits, limited warranties, limited-liability partnerships, exclusive limited time offers - and the white zone is limited to the loading and unloading of passengers only.
Just this week, my doctor put some strict limits on my physical activity. He told me that I cannot lift more than 15 pounds or participate in anything more physical than walking for the next five weeks.
There was a time that those limits would upset me, but I figure that a bacon cheeseburger weighs less than a quarter of a pound (after cooking), a beer is only 12 ounces and the remote is even lighter so I can live comfortably within the lifting limits.
I'm sure I won't even notice the other limitation. I've been married for more than 20 years, and my birthday isn't for another nine months so there's virtually no change of any physical activity around here, in the next five weeks anyway.
Limits aren't necessarily a bad thing. My health insurance has a catastrophic limit on how much deductible I am forced to pay each year, and given the fact that my wife isn't getting any younger, that's a good thing. Presidents are limited to two terms in office, and history has shown that to be a very sweet deal.
When you are young, age limits keep you from driving until you're 16, voting until you're 18 and drinking until you're 21. When you're older, age limits keep you from joining the Army after you're 42 or the Air Force Reserve after 34. Apparently the Air force Reserve is more physically demanding than the Army.
Some limits are more serious than others. I saw a commercial on TV for "rare" coins that said the offer was limited to five per customer, but we all know they would sell you more if you have a valid credit card.
On the other hand, when my wife says there is a limit to her patience, don't push her ... she means it.
A lot of things claim to be unlimited but turn out not to be. If you take a high school wrestling team to one of those seafood joints that advertise unlimited refills on shrimp, you'll find the limit pretty quick.
It seems that most of those places only stock about half a ton of shrimp at a time yet still have the nerve to call it "all you can eat."
Some things truly are unlimited, though. There is no limit to how long and loud a 2-year-old can cry at bedtime, how long your wife will remember the time you accidentally referred to her by your ex-wife's name, the length of a modern presidential campaign or the price of gas.
There seems to be no limit to the number of folks willing to give advice when you don't need it, but a limited number of people willing to actually help when you do need it. There is no limit to the number of calls you get trying to sell you insurance, but when you call to make a claim, the availability of English-speaking claims adjusters are usually quite limited.
In the end, the philosophers are right. If I've learned anything from watching inspirational sports movies and eating lots of fortune cookies, it's that the hard work, dedication and the theme from "Rocky" can lift us past most limits life places if our way.
Overcoming limits is the American way! Did our ancestors let the Mississippi River, the Rocky Mountains or the legitimate sovereignty claims of Mexico, Canada and countless American Indian tribes limit Manifest Destiny? No way - they came, they saw, and they built strip malls!
Normally I am limited by lack of initiative and work ethic, but that's not what's stopping me now. I'm stopping now because the editor has limited me to 750 words. It's important to know your limits.
- Rick Seley is a resident of Fallon.