It's a phrase we've all heard and is fully worth taking to heart. After all, life can be pretty mean sometimes. It'll find every chance to knock you down, take your drive, and render you hopeless and feeling like it's not worth trying.
We've all been there. I've been there. Several times. Each time I spent a while pondering what the heck I'm fighting for.
But lemonade? I've never cared for it. I don't care what life gave me. I want more.
Now to be fair, there are some things that can't be ignored. Life gave me a bad knee. I was told I'd grow out of it, but I haven't. I still think I'd have turned into a pretty good NFL running back, assuming I found the right coaches, which I like to think I would have. But my knee kept me out of pretty much all sports in high school.
So instead, I got into fencing in college. Low impact, but VERY analytical. My teacher called it high speed chess with a three-foot blade. I wasn't too bad at it actually. Good enough to go to the Olympics with time and effort? Probably not, but still, it was good.
But long before that, life gave me Dysgraphia. A learning disability so unknown I had to teach my spellchecker how to spell it. It's been described as a short circuit in the brain that makes it hard to get thoughts from my head to my hand. It fits. There's no such thing as "jotting down" for me, as even a short paragraph can be a ten minute chore. Simple shopping list? Heh, not for me it's not. I can't handle as much stress as you. My short term memory is bad. My handwriting is STILL terrible. By all accounts, I shouldn't be able to write very well.
Oh yeah, did I announce yet that my first novel is going through the early stages of self-publication?
Lemonade? I'm not settling for that. And I think too often we're told we should. People see our weaknesses and say, "hey, find what you can do, and make do with it. Find the joy in it." Find joy in being limited? Why settle?
Now before you jump down my throat, the sentiment is actually good. If we can't find the joys in what we can do, we'll be miserable forever. But I heard about a young girl who is legally blind, and another fellow who lost both legs below the knee. Life gave them a ton of lemons.
That girl has earned medals in state gymnastics championships. And the guy? You probably heard of him. He ran in a couple of track and field events in the last summer Olympics. No, not the special Olympics. The regular one! Against people without limitations!
We can settle for what we're given, and there are times where we really should. With my knee I don't dare go out for football. One wrong hit or plant, and I'd probably ruin it forever. But I'm a fiction writer with Dysgraphia. I've never let anything stop me from doing what I want to do with my life. 9/11 taught me that. I've taken life by the horns and made it work for me. I don't care what it throws at me, nor should you. We shouldn't ever let limitations stop us from achieving what we want to do with our lives. It's like a phrase I saw on an online forum board. I'd give credit if I knew who said it first, but I've never forgotten it.
"When life gives you lemons, throw them back in its face and demand chocolate."
That legally blind gymnast, that double amputee track runner, that writer with Dysgraphia, we were all given lemons.
We all demanded chocolate.