When Life Gives you Lemons

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is a popular phrase used to encourage optimism and positivity. Lemons suggest sourness of life’s challenges and making lemonade out of lemons, is turning those difficult times into something positive and achievable.

Not many people will agree with that. When we become sour with life’s adversities we turn into a sourpuss. In the video game Portal 2 the character Cave Johnson, angry at the proverbial phrase quoted this:

“When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these?”

Yikes. So much angst, but I understand. When you are going up shit creek, it is difficult to be philosophical and positive. However, we can learn how positive people turn their lemons into something sweeter.

In 1915, writer Elbert Hubbard wrote an obituary post (The King of Jesters) about actor Marshall Wilder’s optimism and achievements despite his dwarfism.

“He was walking refutation of that dogmatic statement, Mens sana in corpore sano. His was a sound mind in an unsound body. He proved the eternal paradox of things. He cashed in his disabilities. He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand”

In those days, dwarfism was considered a disability and to be successful, was a great achievement. How time has changed. Nowadays we look up to those famous actors. Who hasn’t seen Game of Thrones?

In 1940, The Rotarian published a poem entitled The Optimist

“Life handed him a lemon,
As Life sometimes will do.
His friends looked on in pity,
Assuming he was through.
They came upon him later,
Reclining in the shade
In calm contentment, drinking
A glass of lemonade.”

It is true that life can be pathed with lemon trees. To be resilient against the adversities, we need to find the mental and physical resources that help us deal with those challenges. But how? Well, there are two options in life: abandon and live in misery or plough forward even if it kills you. We need to realise that we cannot overcome our troubles on our own. We need to reach out for help.

Or, you could do what I do: throw yourself on the floor, have a tantrum that a two-year old would be proud of, then get to the supermarket and pick some real unwaxed lemons and make something with them. I have three recipes that keep me going through rough time: lemon and ginger drink, for a morning boost, jam marmalade on my toast and lemon pickle when I feel under the weather.

Lemon juice in warm water is believed to melt belly fat and ginger has been used to treat a variety of cardiovascular conditions. Lemon juice increases our body’s metabolism and improves our immunity due to the presence of vitamin C in it. Without this antidote, I would be the size of a bus by now!

Lemon/Ginger Recipe:

Cut a 5 cm piece of ginger and 1 lemon in small pieces and add to 2 cups of water in a pan. Slowly bring to boil. Turn the heat off and let it steep for 10 to 15 mins. Strain the liquid and it is ready to drink hot or cold.

When I am in a pickle, I go for the spicy one:

Lemon Pickle Recipe:

Boil 5 lemons for 10 minutes until soft. Remove and cut in quarters. Add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon each of salt, chilli powder, cumin seeds and crushed black pepper. Mix well. In a saucepan shallow fry half teaspoon of mustard seed and add to the mixture. Pickle will be ready in 3 days.

Lemon Marmalade Recipe:

Take 10 lemons, remove the peel and cut into 4 cms strips. Cut the rest of the lemons into quarters discarding seeds. In a saucepan, combine everything with 4 cups of water and simmer until soft. Add four cups of sugar, increase heat and let boil for another hour until set.

So, what are you going to do with your lemons?

I Know More About You Than You Know About Yourself

Who Am I?

‘I know more about you than you know about yourself’, says my son in the middle of a playful banter.

The theme tune from the movie Jaws starts playing in my head signalling impending danger.

Duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn

My mind is racing. All sorts of scary images are running through my head at full speed. What does he know? How does he know?

Relax. He does not know.

“Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me but who I am and what I need – is something I have to find for myself.” – Chinua Achebe

Spending a lot of time together and giving up small bits of freedom can rub people the wrong way. Your identity becomes fragile and you become vulnerable. The mind sometimes plays tricks. Rather than being alarmed, turn your thoughts into a sense of discovery and adventure and re-invent yourself.

While others have a glimpse of who you are, little do they know that there is more to you than what they see. You are not a static being. What you are thinking now is creating your future life. Positive thoughts are powerful. If you focus your thoughts on something bad, then negative things will happen. Choose the right thoughts to change your life in a positive way.

The Importance of Learning

Growing up, I liked reading the dictionary. Now, you are most likely imagining a younger version of me with a heavy book full of incomprehensible words – strange and nerd would come to mind. I learned the longest word: pneumonoultramicroscopicsiIicovolcanoconiosis, a lung disease similar to silicosis and contracted from inhaling particles from a volcano.

I searched for the adjectives that would describe me best: sweet, chatty, loud… obnoxious at times. Did you know that it takes approximately a minimum of forty-one hours to read the entire content of a dictionary? Even at my young age, I was clever enough to know not to do that in one sitting. I did not want to be driven to the edge of madness.

Now I have Google at my fingertips.

‘Hey Google. Who am I?’

Lifelong Lessons

Often you get attached to insignificant things and want them to stay the same way because you are afraid of change. You need to learn to be aware of your feelings rather than to squash them. By observing what I constantly feel and not reacting out of old habits, it has enabled me to gather a new sense of direction. By facing my fears and letting go of my obsessions (no bread baking for a week), I have learned to focus on my goal and leave room for personal growth.

‘I know who I am. Not who you think I am. Not who you want me to be. I am me.’ – Brigite Nicole

Over To You

Ask yourself who you think you are and what you want to achieve. What is your deepest desire? What is your purpose in life? Do you have any character traits and personal qualities you may not have discovered yet? By being aware of your feelings and emotions, you will find your true self.

Take a few moments to think of all the adjectives that describe you. This is not an exercise to discover who you are or what is buried underneath but easing your way to what you would like to experience in the future. You have the power to change anything because you are the one who chooses your destiny. It does not matter who you are or where you are, learning about yourself will give you whatever you want.