Celebration Preparation With Limitations

I love celebrations. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a birthday, a wedding, graduation, or simply a surprise get-together to show someone love. No matter what, I love celebrations.

Growing up and as a young adult, I loved helping prepare for celebrations. That would look like helping decorate or planning menus and games. My energy felt so boundless. I would lose sleep the night before from being so excited!

A lot has changed since I was a younger and when I had more energy. Celebrations look different than before. And that’s okay. Part of growing up is learning to accept limitations and adjust expectations. There are a few things that have helped me along the way. And I want to share those things with you today!

Acknowledging limitations

Acknowledging my limitations was a big step for me. There are different ways I have acknowledged my limitations. For example, social events make me very tired, so I usually have to rest for a day or two before any celebrations occur.

Knowing that I need rest before a celebration helped me prepare. Whenever I find out when a party is happening, I will write it in my calendar and try to clear a day or two before then. Having a clear schedule allows me to rest, which helps me be able to enjoy the party with my loved one.

Another way to accept limitations is to limit availability. What does that mean? That means learning to say, "No." It also means learning to say, "I can't do that, but I can do this." Learning to do this is so hard! But by learning to say no, I have realized that I can save my energy for the party. Instead of doing too much, I can set a boundary. By sticking to that boundary I can do things within my ability and also manage expectations.

Expectations vs. reality

There is a big difference between reality and expectations. And a lot of time, those two do not match up. I may have the expectation of being able to help as much as a healthy person, but my reality is different. Because I have CF, I have to do things that most people don't do such as do treatments, take medicines, and rest.

When I manage my expectations to match my reality, I am usually successful with my goals. For example, my sister had a birthday party for one of her kids last year. I wanted to help set up as much our healthy friends, but I knew that I couldn't do that. Instead, I asked my sister if there were two or three things I could do to help. By managing my expectations, I was still able to help, but not do things beyond my ability.


Communicating what you want to do and explaining what you can do is so important. For example, if there is a big birthday party coming up for someone you love, communicate with the birthday person. When you communicate with them, tell them what your limitations are and what expectations you have for yourself. By doing this, you are not only managing your expectations, but their expectations, too. They may not totally understand why you can, or cannot, do something, but communicating will help.

Once you have communicated all of this to your loved one, be sure to ask them if there are any questions they have. They may have a specific event they really want you attend more than the others. For example, a wedding can have a lot of parties, get togethers, and celebrations. And after talking to the bride, or groom, you may find out that they are totally fine with you skipping everything except the wedding. That would mean you wouldn't go to bridal showers, parties, or rehearsals, but you would be at the wedding.

This may sound like a lot to do just for a celebration or a party. First, you have to acknowledge your limitations. Secondly, you have to think about your expectations compared to your reality. And lastly, you have to communicate all of this with some people so everyone will be on the same page.

And you're right, that can feel a lot, but it isn't impossible. By accepting, managing, and communicating you will be more prepared for the celebration or party. And your loved ones will be able to understand your needs more. When we communicate, we create opportunities to understand each other better. We create moments where we can practice being considerate. And we can discuss our wants and needs. This doesn't just apply to parties and celebrations, but to everything we do.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Cystic-Fibrosis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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