Throughout our lives we have a consistent sense of self-identity; I identify with the child I was as me, despite the changes in body and mind that have taken place since then. All thoughts are accompanied by the reinforcement of our consistent identity (I think…). Heidegger says in our self-identity we stretch ourselves along. The following image occurs to me:
When we are born we peg one end of a long piece of elastic material into the ground. As we grow up and move through life we pull and stretch this material as we go. When we die we peg the other end of the material into the ground and that is our life, stretched from peg to peg.
As we stretch ourselves along, and before we take the next step, we clear the path in front of us by choosing what to do next. It is this ability to choose that enables us to make room for ourselves.
Instead of a disability (e.g. Parkinson’s or stammering) confining us, it is a misunderstanding of the choices we have within our disability (we have the expectations of someone without our disability) that causes us to make insufficient room for ourselves. There is always something left to do, a piece of elastic to stretch along, and it is an honest and open appraisal of who we are that clears the most space in front of us.