When Life Gives You Lemons

What’s the saying? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade?

It’s something along those lines…I’m not particularly fond of lemonade , but I’d happily add my lemons to a  Gin and Tonic any day. Irrespective of my distaste for lemonade, I like the saying, but you’ve probably already noticed that about me – I love proverbs, sayings, quotes and poems, basically anything mildly sentimental and banal.

So why the lemonade?

Alarm goes off. Roll over. Hit snooze repeatedly. Usually avoid checking messages. Today’s different. Check phone. There’s a message. I smile. It’s from home. Open message…

It reads differently:

Missy, our beloved family dog of 15 1/2 years, has had to sadly be put down due to continued failing health. 15 1/2 years for a dog – she had a pretty good innings, what’s that in dog years? Around 105 years-old?

A loyal dog to the end. The keeper of the vines. The follower. The rabbit chaser. The chocolate biscuit thief. The blue cheese hater (a funny story). The river rock collector. The water lover. The beggar of ham and charcuterie meats. The jealous kitten hater…

Burst into tears. Sit upright in bed. Cry hysterically. Want to call home. Don’t have time. Run downstairs. Pick my dog up. Hold her. Feel guilty…

Recently, I haven’t been able to spend as much time with my dog as I’ve previously been able to…I’ve tried to over-compensate (like a guilty workaholic parent does).

Feed her mince. Buy ridiculous amounts of treats. Give her treats when treats aren’t warranted. Purchase many toys. Dog destroys toys. Toys now headless…

Drink coffee quickly. It’s hot. I’m careless. It spills down my suit. “Shit”…

Run upstairs. Other shirt not ironed. Change into something far too casual. Ready for work…

Dog walk round the block. Music blares through headphones. Ed Sheeran. Home. Fight the tears. Mascara smudges down cheeks. Look like panda. Wash face…

Look for wallet. Can’t find it. Panic. I’m late. Turn house upside down…

I literally hadn’t been anywhere. Last night I declined an invite to go out because I was feeling under the weather, so it had to be somewhere in my house, which I’d even tidied the day before. It’s not like me to be forgetful – usually I’m quite the opposite – I’m the OCD type; I’m that annoying person who checks a million times to know I have something before I leave the house. I remind others to constantly do the same.

More frantic searching. Stop and pause. Flip cushions over. Find wallet. 30 minutes behind schedule… 

It reminds me of the other day when I temporarily lost my house key! What’s happened to my mind?

Rush out door. Leave key inside. Go back. Lock house. Run to work. Later than normal. Sweaty and flustered. Still fight the urge to cry…

So when life gives me lemons, what do I do?

I blog about it! Because unfortunately Gin and Tonic at school just isn’t an option, as nice as that would be.

It’s amazing what writing actually does. It’s a great outlet, and sometimes I wonder about those who don’t have a creative outlet – how do they deal with such intense emotions that are inherent in everyday human life sometimes?

“Give me an F’n break!” Enter the pity party. It tries to kidnap me. I resist. Take deep breaths. Realign myself. Practise those calming techniques and mechanisms. Calmness comes. Look at bigger picture. Realise I’m overreacting. I’m blessed…

Start talking to myself. Feel a little crazy for doing so. “I’m lucky”. “I’m fortunate”. “There are people out there having a worse day”…

Say goodbye to the kids. Leave work. Earphones back in. Music full vol. Dua Lipa’s latest hit. Power walk home…

Self pep-talk continues. “It’s one day out of 365”. “24-hours”. “Soon it will be tomorrow” (Monday). “Must start week out with positive mindset”…

Arrive home. Check WhatsApp. Reply to messages. Run upstairs. Change into gym gear. Out the door again. Gym…

This is one thing that’s always helped me overcome any kind of negative emotions. I do have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the gym – when I’m good, I’ve very good and when I’m bad…you guessed it, I’m rotten. Thankfully, I’m going through a more than very good phase.

Treadmill 30 minutes. Bike 30 minutes. Rowing machine 20. Treadmill again until I get bored (about 10 minutes). Endorphins rush through my body. Feeling is immense. Wish I knew more yoga techniques. Home…

Hoodie on (it’s freezing out). Wrap scarf round neck. Find leash. Take dog for walk. Go off beaten path into the countryside. Pound the pavement. Dog’s tail wags like crazy. She’s happy…

Being from New Zealand, I genuinely love nature, and it is something that I’ve taken for granted over the years…there’s something about nature and that fresh air that instantly uplifts and refreshes me – the dog appreciated it too, and Missy, bless her, was always in her element  running around the vineyard, chasing rabbits and diving into the icy rivers in search for rocks to add to her burgeoning rock collection.

Get home. Exhausted. Dull headache. Want to throw up. Realise I’ve forgotten to drink water all day. Down two massive glasses. Forgo Paracetamol. Instantly feel better after water…

I’m usually pretty vigilant when it comes to keeping myself hydrated, but today I’d totally forgotten to look after myself – to be fair, this dehydration probably added to my irritability. It’s a simple reminder to take care of my basic needs and also look out for number one, me!

House a mess from this morning’s frantic search. Turn music on loud. Sean Paul. Grab vacuum. Start cleaning. Dance and hoover. Dog cowers under chair (she’s scared of the Vacuum). Wave out the window to Eric the neighbour. He’s bemused…

The neighbours must think I’m crazy…Eric already knows this, the new young guy on the other side, now that’s a different story. But it’s amazing how much a good dance clears my head, especially after an awful day. Cleaning strangely has the same effect.

Need to make plans. Need something to look forward to. Remember a conversation from day before. Search for a wine tasting. Find it. Multi-task. Write blog. Investigate upcoming events in Leeds simultaneously…

Hot shower. Water hits my body. Windows steam up. Concentrate on breathing. Think way too much in shower. Wash hair. Sing along to the song playing from my phone. Jax Jones. Stand under hot water for longer than I should. Feel refreshed. Feel alive. Feel the negativity lifting…

Oh, it really is the little things in life.

I’ve managed to somewhat turn around my crap day. It doesn’t bring back our beloved family dog, but I have managed to transform a series of negatives into positives, and that’s something…I’m finally learning!

There’s still one thing I’m craving – it’s that thing we all overlook, the thing I referred to the other day – human touch.

Wish people were here. Want to hug. Want to pull them in tight and not let them go. Send a text. Call instead. Brother in USA has beaten me to it. Call back. Chat. Reminisce. Tell them I love them…

I guess this is the difference between the old me and the new me. These days I just let that pity train chug on by, because again, it’s just one day – 24-hours – 1/365.

So what do I do when life throws lemons?

Take deep breath. Tell myself tomorrow will be better. Slice lemon. Pour a GnT…

I Stood By Your Bed 
For Missy 2001-20017
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I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep. I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear, “It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea, You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore. I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.
I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care. I want to reassure you, that I’m not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key. I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said “It’s me.”
You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair. I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It’s possible for me, to be so near you everyday. To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew … in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning and say “goodnight, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide, I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see. Be patient, live your journey out … then come home to be with me.
Author Unknown

 

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