Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When life doesn't give you lemons.

In the late 90s a band named Fools Garden had a mega hit with a song called: Lemon Tree.
If you need a bit of a reminder, here it is:

Listening to that song, brings back a lot of memories: most good, a few less so. The catchy tune and random lyrics still have a way to get me dancing around in my living room, but what I want to focus on today, is the bridge part: Isolation is not good for me. Isolation. I dont want to sit on a lemon tree

Today is Heritage day in South Africa. To a lot of people it is also National Braai Day. (Braai being the South African NOT Afrikaans, SOUTH AFRICAN-word for outdoor BBQ) Fires were lit all over the country and here in Cape Town there were multiple opportunities to throw a nice juicy steak on the grill, grab a few spoons of potato salad, munch a braai-sandwich and drink a cold beer (or in my case, glass of Chardonnay.) Many of the Wine Estates had braai-parties, my churchs young adult group, Frontline, organized a braai and there was a massive gathering at one of Cape Towns rugby clubs. Then there were the people just hanging out at home and sitting next to the fire in their own backyard with their friends. Sounds great doesnt it? It sounds like fun, doesnt it? It sounds like a great opportunity to meet new people, doesnt it? YEAH! It does!

So, to which of the many many braais did I choose to go? None. Yeah, you did read that right. I didnt go to any of those fabulous sounding events. No, instead I chose to climb into my lemon tree and stay at home. Did I have a valid reason for being all sour? I thought I did. I justified my decision (to myself) by complaining that my knee hurts, that my cars petrol tank was empty, that I needed to pay my physiotherapist, that I would be bad company, that painkillers and wine dont go together, that I really wasnt up to small talk with people I didnt know.

At 11am, the time most of the festivities started, I got a text notifying me that my salary has been deposited. By 1pm, I went to the grocery store and bought myself some ingredients for traditional braai dishes. By 3pm I noticed that my knee hasnt acted up all day. By 5pm I was extremely annoyed with myself for sitting at home, alone and eating pan-fried steak. Eugh!

And that was when it hit me! Isolation is a choice! For the past few weeks I have been choosing to isolate myself from the world. I have made many excuses, such as my pending exams, my aching knee, my financial priorities, etc, etc, etc. In doing this I have been moving more and more away from the things I love, one of those things being connecting with people.

A lot of times, it isnt LIFE that GIVES us lemons (to make lemonade withpunny!!) Sometimes we (and by we I mean I) go on a hike, LOOKING for a lemon tree to go sit in. With the lemons. 

So, while eating my sad excuse for a braai-day meal, I remembered a decision I made in 2010, when I still lived in Korea. It was after watching the Jim Carrey movie Yes-man, that I decided to say yes to all (reasonable) invitations, in spite of the 100s of excuses that I knew I most definitely would come up with. Now is as good a time as any to renew that decision. No more saying No! No excuses! Instead of automatically thinking of ways to get out of things, just go with it.

If my knee is giving me trouble, grab the crutches.
If Im low on cash, eat at home and just drink something when my friends invite me out.
If I have to study, make sure how much I really NEED to do, do it and then head out.
If Im feeling grumpy, grab a pink milk. That ALWAYS helps!

So this is me, chopping down the lemon tree, making paper and writing new adventures on it. BooYa!

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