Life is not lemonade, it’s a series of under-ripe lemons being hurled at you at 45mph by an invisible machine, like the ones that launch tennis balls, but bigger and worse.
Life is not all fun and games — and if we’re being real, it’s not even like 35% fun and games. I do believe, however, that looking at life this way makes the other 65% of the pie of life just that little bit easier to cope with.
In truth, I think all aspects of life are a struggle. And, ironically, I think accepting that fact makes me a happier, more optimistic human being.
You see, if we can come to terms with the difficulty setting of this game we’re all playing (it’s set to hard by the way), then it becomes a whole lot less of a surprise when things go wrong in our life, or we feel overwhelmed.
Put simply: Life is not easy — it’s about choosing your hard.
The Hards We Can’t Control
There are troublesome areas of our lives that we simply have no choice over; these are the hards we can’t control.
Because we can’t control these hards, there is little point in me giving any type of advice on them. You are likely already doing your best to stay afloat and dealing with the changing of the tides as and when they come.
The hards we can’t control can be rough. The world we currently live in is not a very nice place to be for a lot of us, whether it’s because of our skin colour, economic status, sexual preference, gender identity, or any of the other things that set us apart from what the media and society has falsely identified as the ‘norm.’
For the hards we can’t control — keep on doing what you’re doing, fight the good fight, and know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel coming soon.
The Hards We Can Control
There are troublesome areas of our life, that as much as it might scare us to admit, we do have a choice in deciding. These are the hards we can control.
Eating healthy and sticking to a workout regime is hard; being un-healthy or overweight is also hard. Choose your hard.
Budgeting your money effectively and saying no to going out with friends is hard; being in debt and stressing about money is also hard. Choose your hard.
Learning to let go of things and move on is hard; holding a grudge and re-living past mistakes is also hard. Choose your hard.
Practicing honest communication in your interpersonal relationships is hard; communicating poorly and not having your needs met is also hard. Choose your hard.
Embracing change is hard; staying in the same place your whole life is also hard. Choose your hard.
Putting other people before yourself is hard; living selfishly is also hard. Choose your hard.
Loving yourself is hard; waking up everyday and hating yourself is also hard. Choose your hard.
Bear in mind that none of these hards aren’t hard — they all possess significant, if not equally challenging degrees of difficulty and suffering. They are part of a process that is designed, for the most part, to suck. It’s called life.
Also bear in mind that if, after a reflective and honest assessment, you find that a hard you thought you could control is actually a hard you can’t control, then don’t sweat it.
This is about making your life easier, after all, and about only spending your energy on the things you can change that will contribute positively to your long-term happiness.
If life is just suffering, then, at the very least, reap the benefits of choosing your hard.
Alexandra Walker-Jones — November 2020