February 7, 2017

My Least Favorite Comment

Last fall, I wrote about my least favorite questions. Now, I'm explaining my least favorite comment.

I could never do that. 

I hear it in two instances.

#1 In regards to teaching.

The conversation looks like this:

Them: What do you do? 

Me: (cringe...as this is a question I try not to ask) I'm a teacher.

Them: Oh, what grade?

Me: 4th. 

Them: So they're like how old?

Me: 9 usually.

Them: Fun! And you teach all the things?

Me: Yeah, they're with me all day.

Them: Oh man. I could never do that.

Well, true. Because anyone who wants to do it, can do it and, if you wanted to be a teacher, you would be a teacher already.

Side note: it blows my mind that people don't actually remember elementary school, but truthfully I remember it all so well because I've never actually left school. It's all I know.

So in that case I could never do that is perfectly okay. If someone tells me they're a nurse or anything related to the medical field, I would say I could never do that because I hate needles and blood and all. I met a phlebotomist the other day...I can't even think about that job.

#2 In regards to the military and deployment.

Them: He's deployed?

Me: Yes.

Them: I could never do that.

Well, yes. You could. You just haven't had to.

I've also gotten...

Them: I don't know how you move around so much. I could never do that. 

Well, yes. You could. You just haven't had to.

This is a case of I can't do that...yet. If you had to, you could and you would. I did not come into this marriage almost 8 years ago believing we'd be through deployment #4 right now. I didn't plan that and I didn't want that. I wasn't built for that. It slowly came to me, week after week and month after month. I don't enjoy it but I adapted and now I can barely remember the days of crying and saying I can't do this and hyperventilating and having panic attacks and all that good stuff almost every day. Happens much less often now. I still feel all of that, but I've adapted in a way that makes me a functional human being at the same time.

My friend has a toddler, a baby, and a full-time teaching job. I've often told her that if Scott were gone and I had a kid to take care of and get to daycare in the morning and two dogs and a job that I didn't think I'd be able to do it. That I'd have to quit the job because I'd never get out the door on time in the morning (that is questionable, even now) and life would just all become too much. And she told me Yeah you would. You'd do it. You would figure it out. 

That's the whole point here. When you assume you can't do something or you assume you can't do what someone else is doing, you're assuming wrong. YOU CAN DO IT. You just can't do it yet. Or you just haven't HAD to do it (yet).


  1. There are a lot of elementary school memories that are vivid and quite real to me. Others are fuzzy. But, aren't most childhood memories a combination of these two?
    Good point that "I could never do that" is a statement that people say when they really mean something different.

  2. I think people really believe life is all about creating your reality. Most people around us literally set their lives up to be how they are every day. So the idea of HAVING to do something they don't really WANT to do is foreign. I'm not talking paying taxes or sitting in annoying traffic here. Practically nothing in my life is how I envisioned it when I was 16. We've faced things I never ever thought I could handle. But the truth is, when life throws things at you, things you don't have a choice but handle, YOU HANDLE THEM.

  3. I really enjoy this post and find it to be so true. For me, if I hear of someone's very challenging sounding (to me) job, I respect them for it. And people who are living through deployments with or without children or working/not working...I just think wow, I could do that, but I can also respect that it would be VERY hard. I'm not trying to pity anyone or anything, but I think it can be important to acknowledge it too. Eye-opening post though :)

  4. I mean, this is all very true. These are scenarios that some people wouldn't want for their lives or can't imagine, though, so they just want to stay away from anything that would out them in that situation. I think knowing your limits is important. If you don't like kids, you shouldn't teach (raises hand, realized that after going through alternative certification). Who you love is a lot harder, though, so you do what you have to to make it work. After dating one guy in the military and getting a tiny glimpse of that life, I didn't think it was for me, either. I didn't swear off men in the military after that, but I did meet my husband next, so it worked for me.

  5. People typically say "I could never do that" when they mean "I would never want to do that."

  6. Yep... people dont like to think of the things they CAN do if they HAD to... & its just easier to say I couldnt do it...Life has a way of throwing you into situations you say you cant do though.. & you turn out OK.

  7. People always tend to look at the negative especially when things are unfamiliar to them.

  8. I agree with Steph. I always say "I could never..." when what I mean is "I would never want to do that." I'm sure I COULD do a lot of things, but I would never choose to unless I was forced into it. And there are a lot of things I would never choose to do, haha.

  9. Word choice is a funny thing, like others mentioned above I think most times when I say "I couldn't do that" I really do mean "I have no interest in doing that and I don't think I would be a very happy person if I HAD to".

  10. I never liked that either, it somehow feels like they are saying "you chose to do that, and I wouldn't have made that choice" but does that mean that they wouldn't have married their spouse if that person had a job that made them leave a lot, or move a lot? I don't know, I'm a little rambly but it never felt good to me when people would say things like that.

  11. I sometimes hear "I could never do that" as "why do you want to do that" because of people's own values and preferences. I don't think they always mean it in a nasty or harmful way; sometimes it's just the only thing they know to say.

  12. I could totally not be a nurse...I probably couldn't even if I had to. But yeah, for non-career or aptitude related things, in most cases you can, you can learn how, but we gradually grow into the skills needed for the lifestyle we face.

  13. hmmm perhaps they mean "i don't want to do that/would never want to do that". If one puts their mind to something, they definitely can do it.

  14. Ah yes. The military life "I could never do that" comment. Or... how do you do that?! I usually just answer with a shrug and say, I don't have any other option. Because duh, I don't. Well, I guess leaving my husband, but that's a whole other can of worms right? ;)

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  16. This is so true! Most of the time "I could never do that." Is really about the fact that you haven't had to yet, as you said. Like I could say that I could never be a garbage collector (because "ew"), but if a situation arose and I needed a job and that was it, I sure could.

    The comment that I'm not enjoying right now is some version or other of "Just you wait," in reference to this baby I'm carrying. I know parenting isn't going to be all sunshine and roses, but why do parents always have to tell me "just to wait" for the bad things. Can't they give me a "just you wait" for the cute and happy moments, too??

  17. i have no doubt that i have said 'i could never do that' in the past, but it gets on my nerves when people say it to me lol. i say i couldn't do KC's job but the truth is i wouldn't want to.


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