Skip to Content

When Life Doesn’t Give You Lemons

When life hands you lemons

Seize the day, carve your own luck, and build your own success.

We all know that it’s easier said than done. “Make lemonade,” they tell us eagerly. But what happens when you aren’t given any lemons to begin with?

I am blessed to be alive, and to be breathing. I am lucky to be able to afford food and shelter (although not always easily). I am fortunate to have such luxuries such as clean water, warmth, and an education.

However, I don’t sleep that easily. Because life is so tricky, complicated, and consuming. I’m also constantly reminded by my own shortage of luck, and this happens every time I log on to any one of my social media accounts. No, I don’t want a baby or an engagement ring. What I do want is progress, no matter how it comes. That’s my own version of a bundle of joy.

Yet, I never seem to experience dumb luck. There are no chance opportunities, no serendipitious meetings with mentors or contacts, and there are no jobs that have led me further up the ladder (or even helped me step foot on it).

You’re about to tell me that we make our own luck, which comes back to the good old lemonade advice. I do believe that despite our circumstances, we can create our own fortune but I don’t believe you can create magic from thin air.

We haven’t all been sitting here, gorging on chips and dip and Netflixing since Graduation. We have tried to find the stepping stones to adulthood, but it wasn’t as fun or as simple as we thought it would be.  

Assuming that you know how I feel right now, you’ll know how it feels when you face another day only to be bombarded with more bad news (and more bank charges and flat tires). 

Luck turns around and laughs in my face, every time, “Not this time, buddy.” Another sharp nudge in the ribcage that says, “You’re not as good as you think you are.” And, “You’re not ready for me, yet.”

We are not undeserving, but it’s pretty hard to see it any other way when everyone else seems to be stumbling on miracles while some of us are still crawling our way out of fifty feet of millennial crap.

Money is probably the most misfortunate aspect of my life. It’s tough to save a penny when life keeps asking for a pound. Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness, has never been as poor as I am. It brings you peace of mind, and stability. Which ultimately helps keep you stress free and partially happy. 

Alas, this is no pity party. Despite feeling like we only ever turn corners just to end up in the same spot, and running in circles until we lose our breath I am well aware that one must experience the dark before seeing the sun rise with tired eyes. I accept that I have suffered some hard luck over the last few years, but I wish people would stop telling me to make lemonade. Because where are the goddamn lemons anyway?

We try so hard, and we’ve been told that perseverance is the secret. Except, when will life hand out a break? When will it get easier? So far, we have used both our initiative and intelligence to create opportunities, only to end up taking two steps backwards. The day I become perky about the challenges of being in my twenties, is the day they’ll throw a parade in my name. 

“I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.” – Dead Poets Society

In all honesty, there is a part of me that envies the somewhat eternal sunshine of the optimist’s mind, and the happiness they seem to feel from possessing such an attitude. But I’m not going to lie to you, I’m rather glass half empty.

Because even when you do have lemons, they are sour before they are sweet. Life never gives you something for free, so when you see the harsh yellow tinge of lemons, you need to swallow the truth that there is more work to be done. 

And in even more unfortunate news, we didn’t have our eyes open. There was no harbinger of misfortune, and we crashed and burned when our false hope fizzled out. 

Because of the global shortage of luck, I do believe that facilitating happiness has little to do with luck, and everything to do with perspective. It has less to do with horse shoes, four leaf clovers, and wishbones. It has nothing to do with superstition and stepping on cracks to avoid misfortune. You’re dealt the hand life shuffles out for you, and you need to work with it. 

Experience has taught me that although a little optimism goes a long way, a pinch of pessimism prevents a lot of disappointment and tantrums so volatile you would mistake me for a six year old. Honestly, I’m saving you all from witnessing one of my diva style outbursts, and you’re welcome.

As with lemons, life can make us wince and we often taste a little too much bitterness. That’s because your life is the lemon and the lemonade we make from it is far from perfect. It is far from fizzy and refreshing, and it is unsweetened reality. Your life is your lemonade, no sugar added.

For the opposing side of this post, see When Life Hands You Lemons.

What do you think? Do we make our own way or does fate play a part in it?

P.S. Let’s get social! Find us here:

Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Pinterest

About the Author

Shelley Phillips

Shelley holds a B.A. in Media Studies from Swansea University, Wales. She enjoys keeping up with a critiquing TV shows, blogging, American politics, and baking snicker doodles. She hopes to one day work as a journalist.