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When Life Gives You Lemons, Forget Lemonade

April 18, 2019

Last year, on this same day, I loaded my car, moved back to Chicago from Los Angeles and gave up what seemed to be everything that I had worked so hard for since I was 10. Here's why, along with the life changing lesson I learned along the way.

 

I'm going to get straight to the

point here. Late May, 2017, my family was told that my Dad would have 6 months left to live... if we were lucky. It wasn't an easy choice at all, but I ultimately decided to put my Dance career aside and moved back to the Midwest to BE with my family. Having dreamt of this kind of success as .a Dancer for so long and being so close to grasping it and then letting it go - the 10 year old in me shattered and the impact of it rippled into the external reality of who I was. 

 

I decided that I wouldn't sit in pity and did the whole, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" thing for a while. I made the choice to stay in LA for the month of June and make my last moments there UNSTOPPABLE. From there, everyday was packed. Everyday was a new experience with new lessons shared with new people (and of course, some constant friends). Within those 31 days, I connected with tons of Dancers I looked up to, finally taught my very first class in LA, teamed up to do a big battle with my crew, learned how to Krump and got recruited to join the crew that taught me, experienced God in a way beyond the "norm", and overall just had a buttload of fun. 

 

However, when I finally moved back to Chicago, I fell apart again. I started running towards alcohol, staying in bed, crying and victimizing myself, and just loathing my life. All the feelings of depression that I had once known so well came rushing back and here I was - not even being able to be there for myself emotionally because I felt the need to save it up and only use that emotion on my Dad and my family. I wanted to accept my issues as real, but felt I was just blowing them out of proportion and being selfish. I wanted to give myself love, but felt hatred towards myself for needing it. I wanted to show my hurt, but felt that I needed to hide it for the sake of looking strong (only to always show it after alcohol). I wanted support around EVERYTHING that was wrong, but felt as if asking for it were to ask for too much from the universe. 

 

Now, why was this all happening when everything was just going so well? How did my whole perception make such a dramatic 180? Because the "make lemonade" method had stopped working for me. Once I moved back to Chicago, I started to believe that my fun was over. That I had to just give the sugar from my life away without even being able to produce any for myself anymore. And without that sugar, I was unable to make any lemonade and was only left with the sourness that life tossed my way. And how did I fix this issue? How did I find more sugar to create more lemonade? ...I didn't...

 

Instead, I realized that life had more than 2 options. That I could do much more with lemons than either just making lemonade or just letting it sit there; getting all sour. That I could throw those lemons at the people. That I could juggle them and hope to God that they wouldn't fall. That I could smash the living hell out of them with a baseball bat. That I could use them for seasoning my food, That I could roll them around. That I could simply enjoy the fresh scent of them. And the one that I eventually settled on; that I could make alkaline water - which may not always be as great as lemonade in the moment, but results in greater long term benefits. 

 

Through this realization, I've been able to make decisions that helped change my course. I started teaching, being assertive to my own needs, opened myself up to vulnerability, met many goals that old me would've never been able to, built stronger relationships with my family and my girlfriend, became a Life Coach who started supporting others, and became the best version of myself (so far). All of that in 5 months, just because I realized what I wanted to do with these lemons that life threw at me. 

 

I'm going to go ahead and jump straight to the next point. The lesson here: There may be many moments when you think you only have 2 options in life. 2 different and opposing extremes. One or the other. To either have lemonade or the sourness of life. But consider that life will almost always give you multiple choices. That you can have your cake and eat it too. That you get to choose how many choices you have. 

 

 

This all said, where in your life do you notice that you're only giving yourself 2 options? What other options are there? How many choices are you going to allow yourself to have? Now, what are the new possibilities?

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