When life gives you lemons…
How would you finish that sentence in the title?
There are 2 types of people.
When life gives you lemons...
The “…say fuck the lemons and bail” people and the “…make lemonade” people. The cynics and the optimists. The takers and the givers. The people who say “no” a lot and the people who say “yes”.
We all need balance and who’s to say one way is “right”. But I do think one way is better, healthier, and creates a more wonderful life.
A guy friend, from my Chicago years, brought up an interesting idea. He said, “I don’t do anything I don’t think I can win at.” Or something similar…I am probably paraphrasing that.
He was explaining to me why he didn’t even bother asking the hot girl out who lived in his building. He’d mention her often and pretended that he didn’t plan his morning routine around trying to walk out of the lobby at the same time as her. He never even said hi to this girl…yet he rearranged his schedule for her. Some women wish the men in their lives would adjust their schedules just slightly for them. And here he was doing this without ever having exchanged words with this girl.
My friend informed me that asking her out would be pointless because she would say no. I pressed him because he was an objectively good-looking dude, so I thought he was just being nervous. But then he told me that he was certain she would reject him because he only ever saw her with guys that looked like professional athletes. He had really done his recon!
Before I could finish trying to suggest that maybe she could use someone new and he’d never know if he didn’t try, he stopped me and said, “I only ask girls out when I know they’ll say yes”.
At this point, if you are someone who makes lemonade, you’re probably thinking like I did. “Are you even trying dude?! Come on… put a little effort in and you’ll win her over!” But my friend is a “fuck the lemons and bail person” who only put the minimal amount of effort into most things. It was working pretty well for him too, so he wasn’t about to change.
In a way, I kind of understand that mentality. He had never really failed at anything and because he set his sights and expectations accordingly, he always got an outcome for the minimal effort. He wasn’t a rockstar at anything, but he was doing just fine. Great by some standards. I could see how a guy like that might be terrified of the idea of failure or rejection because it never happened to him. He never tried or extended himself much, so he just coasted.
There’s nothing wrong with any of this but here’s the catch… my friend was never happy or satisfied with what (or who) he had. He never really worked for anything or anyone (especially anyone) so he never put much significance on it either. If anything got tough or annoying or uncomfortable or disrupted what he wanted in any way, he jumped ship to the next. He claims he’s happy, so okay. But he is missing a fundamental part of being a human: resilience.
My poor friend had none. He never even gave himself the chance to learn it.
I’m the opposite. It takes a lot for me to walk away. There’s always a breaking point for me where I will walk away. Once I hit it there’s no coming back. But I tend to think bailing is weak. There are some who balk at that because they think walking away is the hardest thing you can do. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. I would rather fight for what I believe in, for chances, for opportunities and earn what I have rather than give up because something got hard. I would rather put effort into the people in my life and show them what they mean to me than view them as expendable.
If I were in my friend's shoes, I would’ve eventually asked that girl out (if I was into girls) but I would’ve played the long game. I would’ve put in time and effort and swept her off her feet. I would’ve made her feel like she had to give me a chance just to see what she was missing! Who knows if it would’ve been one date or true love. But I would’ve made some date worthy lemonade for sure.
I probably should mention that I absolutely love the taste of lemons. I even eat them by themselves sometimes. The bitterness makes my mouth water. I’d put raw lemon juice on everything if it wouldn’t destroy my enamel. I’ve tried to grow a lemon tree many times because I’m probably personally funding a small lemon tree farm.
Here’s to hoping there isn’t some metaphor buried in there. Something like I put up with lemony situations because I love the bitter taste…
It’s probably just unsweetened lemonade 😉