Making lemonade is not always the first thing you think of doing when life has given you lemons. Some, myself included, first think of throwing them at someone or throwing it back at life. The former being a normal human nature response while the latter occurring when you’ve put your foot down and are ready to really dig in. Let’s be honest, times can get really difficult. You go from enjoying a relatively tranquil existence to having your entire world flipped upside down. If you’re not careful you end up in a rut that you can’t seem to dig yourself out of.
I admit that I have been angry for some time. I get caught up inside my own head and emotions, struggling to make sense of it all. Was I a terrible person in a former life? Did I do something terrible in this current one? Why does everything seem to be going so terribly wrong? But it’s as we all know, life is filled with hills and valleys and that in time we all must experience its highs and lows. In many ways I have felt like the past year and a half has been a perpetual low. Last year there were several life changes that would cause anyone to become severely depressed. That has persisted through 2015 and additional life changes seem to only pile on top of the old. There are moments, days and even weeks where you just don’t know how I’ll make it through.
What we all need to remember, myself included, is that it’s okay to grieve, to be upset, to cry, to have a tantrum, to be human. We aren’t made of teflon, when life gives you its occasional (or what may feel like persistent) lemons, it’s not the end of the world. Sure, it may feel like it, and you may not know how to make lemonade, but inch by inch, day by day you must soldier on. I write this for you as well as for myself, it will get better. I know that that seems only to pacify the situation or to diminish it, but it’s the truth. Just as it seems as though there’s only doom and gloom, that tomorrow will only be more of the same, life will inevitably get better. No matter your religious belief, things will turn themselves around. It is during these darker times that you must consciously remind yourself of the things that make life worth living. Being in dire straights is only temporary. And as painful as it may be, you’ll get through it.
The support of family and friends are crucial. I know that I naturally recoil and try to hide what I may be going through. However, in internalizing the problem I often make it more overwhelming and much worse than it may really be. Pride can be your friend as well as your most difficult adversary. It can cripple you, play games with your mind and can simply put you in a constant place of trying to understand why you must be the one struggling. Look, it happens, there’s sometimes no real rhyme or reason behind it. And comparing yourself to others won’t do you or anyone else any good. Your real character is shown when your back is against the wall. That isn’t to say that if you show your vulnerability it means that you’re weak. Simply, don’t beat yourself up for beating yourself up – but don’t take up residence in a place of self-loathing.
When life is going our way we sometimes forget to fortify ourselves against Murphy’s Law. And when we’re going through the more difficult periods we’re often so hard on ourselves that we forget about life’s good times. In recent weeks I have allowed myself to forget, choosing to exist in a space where I have ridiculed and tormented myself into believing that life will never get any better, that I’ll never make it to the next hilltop. But when calmer heads prevail we know that this too shall pass and that life has a way of surprising us all. Even if it doesn’t happen today, tomorrow or the next, in time those really bad days will give way to even better ones. So make the occasional lemonade, throw the occasional lemon, just know that even though life is filled with them, there a lot of other great things too.
This article appeared on page 5A in the 5/13/15 issue of The Union-Recorder.