Squeezing the Lemons of Life
Life, it's been good to me. I've been fortunate to be raised in a home filled with love, respect, laughs, and memories. I never went hungry, or lacked opportunites. I didn't get everyhting handed to me, and learned the value of hard work and an earned dollar. I grew up, moved out of that home and got an education where I met many of my greatest friends, while still mainting my hometown faves. I graduated from college and got a job that I loved. I met a guy, one that exceeded any of my visions of what a "good guy" would be like, and now we're getting married.
Life... it's been great to me.
For that, I am so very thankful. If I'm having trouble at night falling asleep and feeling tense, rather than counting sheep, I count my blessings and that knocks me right out.
Through this wonderful life I've been so lucky to have in my brief 29 years here on earth, there's also been some hard times. These recent hard times have been the hardest yet.
Today I'm not here to throw a pity party, to ask for sympathy, or for a shoulder to cry on. Today, I'm here to talk about perspective. Life will throw you some pretty nasty lemons, but in catching those lemons, if you can pause and squeeze them for a minute you just might come out with some pretty decent lemonade.
While life has been so good to me, I can still say that the lemons of life have taught me quite a bit. I (not so happily) switched schools when I was young. I went through some body-image issues growing up, yo-yo-ing from being overweight, to far too skinny for my own good, to more overweight that I was before. I was let go from my first grown-up job. I moved across the country to a place where I knew no one expect PJ, and didn't even have a job. I took a hefty cut in pay and learned what it felt like to truly "just get by." I lost my Dad suddenly and unexpectadly.
A thought that has crossed my mind lately, "What would I be thinking about right now if _____ hadn't happened?" I look at the lemons that life has handed over as a way to look at life through a different lens. Oh how one's persepctive can change when things go from perfect to challenging or tough.
Had I not changed schools at a young age and gone from the shyest kid on the playground to the one that won't shut up, I may have never had the courage to move across the country on a leap of faith. Had I not fought that infamous body image battle, I may not be writing this blog post today... I may not have found my purpose to help others know that they are more beautiful than the make-up they wear, the brands they buy, or the number on the scale. Had I not lost my job, I wouldn't have the deep down belief that it really, truly all works out if you just have a little faith, work hard, be nice, don't burn bridges, and have an open mind.
And had I not lost my Dad, well shoot... who knows what I would be thinking about right now. Would I jump at the chance to spend an afternoon with my mom & aunt tomorrow, or think about the things I have to get done at work? Would I look up in the sky for pretty eagles, or keep my vision close and narrow to what's straight ahead? Would I let the silly things that seemed so important consume my mind, or would I just let them go? Would I even be sharing my vulnerable thoughts and feelings right now, or would I have a fear of what others might think or say?
As odd of a question as it may seem, I think it truly is important to ask yourself "what would I be thinking about right now if _____ didn't happen?" Life can be beautiful, wonderful, and happy, but it can be challenging and tough at times too. It's in appreciating our tough times that the compassion comes through, our new paths are created, our pesective is shifted and the true beauty of life shines through.
You are strong, awesome and powerful. Appreciate the things you have been through in ife.... some things might be the sugar, while others are the lemon. It's all about how you combine them to make your own version of the best lemonade... YOUR lemonade.
They're just like my most recent post about Mondays. You're grateful for them, regardless of what happens in life, they're always there, and they're also that "easy" thing to complain about.
Recently, I was chatting holiday plans with some gals and the conversation turned to splitting time up with family. It occurred to me that my perspective hasn't always matched others when it comes to this topic-- I love my family. I always have. I always will. Maybe I'm truly lucky to have a great one, or maybe it's my perspective... that these people God put into my life are a gift.
Families are a mix of personalities, opinions and quirks. But the beautiful thing about family is that the love is unconditional, and they're always there for you. They may not match some of the people that you choose to be your friends, but they're there for better or worse, through thick and thin, and in happy times and sad. God knows that we are smart at picking out some people in our lives, but there are others that He knew we couldn't do life without so he picked them out for us-- that's family. When one person isn't there, even the quiet ones, the dynamics are different and it just feels different.
The thing about family is that you are the only one that can complain about them or bug them. For example, I will still purposely do things to push my brother's buttons, even at the age of nearly 30. I still risk getting stabbed in the hand with a fork just to see if I can get away with stealing a bite of his food. The thrill of this a lifelong battle I'm determined to win! But, if I hear you saying even the slightest thing negative about him or anyone else in the crew, you can bet I will stand up and defend.
Family can grow, change and evolve... but not matter what, it will always be yours. This year our family is adjusting. We're missing someone at the table. We're missing that funny guy we always love to pick on. A family picture will never be as complete as it was when he was here.
We must move forward though. This Thanksgiving our family will be together. I'm sure there will be tears when thinking of memories past and thinking about what the future holds, but I also know there will be laughs, smiles, and hugs.
This year, my one wish for you at Thanksgiving is to not fall to the easy complaints. Take a step back. Look at the big picture. Know and appreciate the love that is there. Remember, as much as you may complain, the apple doesn't always fall far from that big ol' tree. And listen to this song... cause ain't that the truth!