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When Life Hands You Lemons...

"This started out as a task, but it grew into something more..."
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Rating 5
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Views 1.5k
Read Time 7 min
Published 8 years ago
I’ve once again been given a task by a friend in the hopes that random writing will somehow lift the huge block that’s been weighing down my work of late. In all honesty, I think that he’s only giving me these little tasks so he can get me to shut up about how much I miss my laptop - it crashed about a week ago. The task is for me to write a musing about anything. Now while I’m really good at musing, I’m not in the habit of writing down my chaotic thoughts, they exhaust me plenty while they’re still inside my head, so I shudder to think what writing them down and reading them back will do to my already befuddled brain.

So I’ve been sitting here staring at my phone for over an hour - which is what I now have to use as a writing tool - with all of these thoughts whirling around in my head, yet not a single word worth writing down. Or more accurately, not worth sharing with anyone. I’m feeling annoyed with myself for not having a more functional phone and frustrated because it didn’t really matter, since the problem doesn’t lie with what I am using to write on, instead it lies with my inability to come up with fresh ideas that has the Wow! factor.

Anyway, you know how it goes, one thought leads to another and yet another, until you’re either too confused by your own thoughts or you end up in a place that can only be described as enlightenment. I reached a place somewhere in between the two, a sort of reflective equilibrium, for lack of a term that makes any sense to anyone who was not inside of my head for the past two days while I’ve been trying to write this.

Have you ever experienced moments where your mind is flooded by thoughts of how hopeless things are? You know, those moments when you start to question the meaning of life – or rather its purpose – and more importantly, your life. Well I’ve had moments like that all too often. Times when I try to weigh my potential against what I have actually achieved in life, and somehow, the scales are horribly out of balance each time I do. Today was different from all those other times. There were no moments of sulking because I was feeling sorry for myself and there was no anger at how unfair life can be even at the best of times.

It surprised me, if I have to be honest. I figured it might be because it’s a beautiful spring day out – I’d been looking out my office window at the spread of yellow daisies across the road and there were two finches on my windowsill earlier this morning singing sweetly as I enjoyed my first coffee. Or maybe it was because tomorrow is a public holiday here and my boss is generously sending us home early. Or maybe it was that I’d just enjoyed a lovely lunch – I’m an incredibly good cook, even if I have to say so myself. It could be any of a myriad of things, but it isn’t, not this time anyway. The reason I’m not sulky or angry is that I finally get it. Get what, you may ask? I get IT! Not the meaning of life or anything deep like that, I just get why life sometimes pulls us down into that deep, seemingly bottomless mire. It’s because we allow it to. Like William Earnest Henley said, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” It’s really as simple as that.

I realized that I need to stop hoping and waiting for things to change, instead I should be an instrument of change. I realized that there are no fairy-tale endings, and that the only “happily ever after” you should hope for is to find contentment in the things you do have. I need to accept that every new day is a fresh start – no holding on to past mistakes or planning for a future that may never materialize – and that in itself is the richest of blessings. And that every change in my life has to start with me.

I need to be more thankful for the things I have, especially the ones I often overlook. We are all rich and true riches have little to do with the bottom line on your bank statement. It is about seeing beauty in the world and in others. It is about saying ‘thank you’ even when life has given you something you didn’t ask for or need. It’s about taking every scrap of metaphorical junk life throws at you and recycling it into something new and uniquely yours.

I prayed to find the strength to look beyond people’s faults and instead, to look into their hearts. We need to stop complaining. We need to stop blaming. We need to stop judging. We need to start loving without condition. People are not perfect. And we need to forgive. Contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not a two-way street. Never forgive anyone in the hopes of getting something back – not even their forgiveness in return – because it is something you do for you, not the other person. Once we accept that, all the bits of anger and resentment we hang onto will start to fade away and only then can there be space for true contentment of the heart to enter.

I’ve always ascribed to the belief that there is much reward in giving, but as much as I’ve played things forward, it seemed that nothing was ever coming back to enrich my life. So now what do I do? Do I stop giving because no one ever gives back? No, I keep giving and try to find happiness in knowing that I’ve shared whatever bounties life has given me. I think that sometimes we find ourselves despondent because we fail to make a distinction between what we want and what we need. It is important to learn the difference between the two.

I am accepting that I am clueless when it comes to knowing what life demands of me. I am accepting that I don’t know half as much as I thought I did. I am accepting that I cannot save everyone, much as I try. I am accepting that sometimes I need to ask for help. I am accepting that pigs will never fly. I am accepting that I will never be eighteen again. I am accepting that I will never be a size 32 again. I am accepting that the greatest evil I will ever encounter lives right inside of me – my ego. I am accepting that I cannot control the world around me, merely my actions and reactions. I am accepting that I will only truly be happy once I start to accept myself not for who I was or will be, but for who I am now.

So here I sit, not knowing where life will take me, yet there is a strange sort of serenity that has crept into my soul. I don’t know if life will ever get any better for me, but I am not going to allow fear and anxiety to poison these precious moments that have been placed in my hands.

I am looking at the world through new eyes. This is my awakening.

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