When life gives you lemons...

people walking on beach

“If life gives you lemons, make lemonade, but don’t drink it all by yourself.”

How many people like to take a walk on the beach on a hot summer’s day? I am a person that likes to do just this. If at any given moment I am blessed with an instant of free time, I like to accompany my family to walk along the shore and dip our toes in the Pacific to cool off. Undoubtedly, we are not the only people that like to do this when the weather gets a bit warmer than what is comfortable; even at our nearest beach to home there are hundreds of others doing the exact same thing.

My entire life I have been a creator. Even as a small child, when I would create my own stories to make them into books with tape and printer paper. Now, I am no different. When walking on the beach, I like to think, ‘Who is that person ten metres ahead?’ Although they certainly have a story just as we all do, there is nothing more interesting than thinking of one in my head which may or may not be close to correct.

These story creations of mine came from a realization that every single person on Earth lives a life as vivid as my own. Recently I learned that there is a word for this. “Sonder” is a word newly created for the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig.  If everybody’s world is as vivid and lifelike as my own then how am I so dang lucky all of the time? My entire life I came to believe that everything is for a reason, and that every bad thing that happened to me would simply allow for a good thing to come later. Sonder makes me realize that if this is the case for me, it should be the case for anybody. Unfortunately, that is not so. How is it that I just happen to be a healthy, smart able bodied teenage girl? How is it that some people are living a life that isn’t as “convenient” as mine? This thought still blows me away, as I look at that girl in a wheelchair or the man with scars on his arms on the beach. I realize that their lives are as vivid to them as mine is to me. Continually I wonder how it is we all ended up here, dipping our toes in the Pacific.

Through sonder I realize that life has given my lemons. Through some magical twist of fate life has given me the majority of everything I will need to succeed down the road. Some people are not nearly as lucky, as I’ve explained above. A kind of wicked life lottery has provided them with one lemon or even half a lemon at most. Some people are born in war zones, or belong to a family that lives below the poverty line. Some people may have been born with a lot of lemons, only to have them taken away by a serious illness or sudden death among those close to them. This could happen to any one of us. That’s why it is important to distribute our lemonade (what we created off our chances for success) to others who may not have been able to make that lemonade in the first place.

To be clear, when I speak of lemons, I speak of the amount of chances we have for success at a given time. When I speak of lemons, I think of the success we have stirred up because of it. It is a well known fact that many of us do make more lemonade in life. There were many of us that were born with the resources to make a happy, magical life for ourselves, as well as many who have risen from less than ideal conditions. No matter how we started off, it is always important to acknowledge our privileges and share our conveniences in life with those around us. If you happen to be happy, smile for someone. If you happen to have money, donate some to a charity of your choice. If you don’t have any money but are good at organizing, plan a fundraising event and then donate. Take advantage of your lemons and make something with them, perhaps a glass of sweet, cool lemonade. Most of us are lucky to be living our lives just as they are right now. Remember, all of these people you see in public or on the news are not just figments of one’s imagination. They are real people living a life just as vivid and clear as yours is. Why not make life easier and serve them a glass? Walk up to someone at the beach, learn from them, and give them some lemonade. Everyone there has struggles, but despite that, we remind ourselves just how lucky we are to be here, dipping our toes in the Pacific.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, but don't drink it all by yourself.