The Difference Between Can’t & Won’t

I have flown over and sailed around the Statue of Liberty but I haven’t ever gone to visit her.

There is no particular reason for why I haven’t gone other than I haven’t made time for her. I expect one day I will go and take the time to thank the green lady for the opportunity she gave my family and myself.

You can call it a trip in waiting and classify it as something I want to do as opposed to certain things I don’t want or won’t do.

Or you can dig deeper into the narishkeit life presents us with and ask me what I can’t do and what I won’t.

The simplest example is I can’t fly and I won’t try to prove gravity wrong unless I am outfitted with a jetpack or some other device I trust not to crash.


The Difference Between Can’t & Won’t

Earlier today I found myself engaged in a conversation about teenage logic and dug into things I am willing and or unwilling to do.

“I can’t wait to see if some people pull their heads out of the dark spaces and places they have inserted them. It is too hard and I have too much I have to do.”

There was a pause and then a response, “it sounds more like you could wait but you choose not to. So you won’t.”

I nodded and said sometimes both are true.

“I can’t and I won’t.”

I knew it was contradictory so I elaborated.

“I can’t make people act or behave as I want them to and I generally won’t try because it takes too much energy and offers too little return.

In my old age I have become jaded about somethings and begun paying very close attention to how people behave. Some people are good friends and some people are just acquaintances.  I treat them differently.”

Take It Or Leave It

I mentioned that I am under a significant amount of stress and explained I may choose to change my mind.

Not because I am or want to be a fence straddler but because maturity allows you to say you think you have found a better way to do things and so you adjust.

And then I explained how I want people in my life who understand no one gets through it alone and that sometimes we all need a hand.

Take it or leave it. Love me or don’t.

That last line could and should have a little more nuance to it, but my broken tooth and I are cranky so we didn’t get into it.

But we did talk about the importance of letting people know how we feel, that is not something I have been particularly good at.

Maybe I am getting better and maybe I can help someone avoid making some of the same mistakes I have made.

Sometimes I wonder if I am getting softer or harder in my old age, maybe both are true.

That Tolkien quote has never been more true for me and so is the one below:

“Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Time to geek it up my friends, I am going to make like Aragorn and walk the paths of the dead. Or alternatively you can say this is another James T. Kirk moment.

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