When Life Gives You Lemons

In challenging times like this 2020 year, there can be a sense of uncertainty and quite frankly, despair. We come into a new year with our eyes wide open to welcome in new opportunity and we are filled to the brim with optimism. Before we know it, those eyes see things we didn’t plan on seeing and we begin to recoil and shut down any hope of this year bringing anything of value into our lives.

I’m here to say that is not the way to go about our precious days! Listen, I get it. On December 31st, if someone would have told me that 2020 was going to start off with things like NBA star Kobe Bryant and others getting killed in an accident, a global pandemic with one of the most infectious diseases threatening our well-being, unemployment soaring up while businesses spiral down, and people protesting police brutality and the inequities of systemic racism across the USA, I would have said they were crazy. No one expected this kind of year. I certainly did not.

Like many, what I did expect was quite different. But, this is where we must take stock of what life has presented to us and as they say, make lemonade out of lemons. What I mean is, we must adapt to what we are going through to see the good things that are possible and on the horizon. If we get bogged down by all that we didn’t expect, it's hard to see that where there is challenge or misfortune, there can also be possibility and opportunity.

We get our mindset into trouble when we have expectations of what will or should happen. Just because things didn’t go the way we expect, doesn’t mean we can’t learn, pivot, and respond to adversity in our future days to make the best for ourselves and others around us. My friend, Brian, once told me that he can’t wait to make his next mistake. I was thinking what are you saying right now? His simple logic was that hard times help us remember and appreciate our blessings, and hopefully, give us a chance to learn and improve. For him, looking at challenge or failure as a learning moment eases his anxiety, allows him to forgive himself and others in a manner that brings things back into balance.

The next time you face some tough situations. The next time you make a mistake. The next time the world gives you a bushel of lemons. How will you respond?  

I say, let’s all try to make the best of it all, with a nice cool glass of lemonade.