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Life, Lemons & Lemonade..

The power of choice in our careers

Lemons suck, they are sour, they are bitter and hence they personify the hurdles that life throws at us as adults- at home and also the workplace. And when that happens, we are told – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. 

In an age of fads and memes, this historic phrase has still held its place as a beacon of positivity and also a cautionary tale. If there are lemons, lemonade MUST be made. Now I have a few issues with the finality this statement implies. First of all, I did not ask for these lemons and now that I have them- I should do something with them? Why? Maybe I don’t want to? It’s great to make the most of a bad situation but sometimes it may be better to start afresh?

We place a glass of water in front of a person and ask – is that half empty or half full? What we forget to ask is – is it too heavy? Are you in a position to hold it? And no, I don’t recommend escapism. Instead I recommend the freedom to choose; to stay or to walk away.

If you choose to improvise, then by all means make that lemonade and don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. The kindness of  others in difficult times is a genuine phenomenon. If you ask, someone will help you fetch the water; another may bring the sugar and of course there will be a third just standing screaming ‘Sugar is evil’. But remember, you also have the choice to say- ‘Nope! I didn’t order these lemons; I’m going to dig out some potatoes from the dirt, instead’. Either way, make your own choice with honesty and integrity. It may turn out to be the most prudent choice or not. In 2016, Beyoncé released an album titled ‘Lemonade’ where one of the underlying themes was the turmoil in her personal life. She chose to stay with her husband, she chose to make that lemonade and might I add that that lemonade was sweet because album was both a commercial and critical success. I wish that happens to you. Should you decide to stay  in a job you no longer feel passionate about or are too scared to make a career change then I hope that your choices work out for the best in the long run.

But it may happen that you will prepare the lemonade with a smile on your face and it will still turn out to be bitter despite the dollops of sugar. And when that happens, remember it’s still not too late. You have the freedom to chuck the lemonade down the drain and go looking for potatoes or oranges or even jackfruit if that’s to your taste. Life is short, but it’s also too long to just make do with what we get rather than seeking what we want. 

Giorgio Armani enrolled to study medicine, then joined the military, today his name is eponymous with fashion. Leslie Jones began dabbling in comedy in her early twenties was relatively unknown until she became an SNL cast member at 47. To each, their own. 

Responsibilities limit us in our careers and daily lives but exercising the power of choice can be liberating. So let’s amend this proverb . How about – ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade or don’t’. And each time life does give you lemons, save the seeds. When time goes by and life settles, you can choose to ruminate on them and relive the bitterness or you can sow the seeds and watch a new life grow. Again, the choice is yours.

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