When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or at least that’s what they say… As upbeat as this saying may be, how much do we actually live by it? Making the best of the situation sure sounds good in theory but in real life, when should you make lemonade and when should you just go and get an orange juice?
It’s surprising how much some people will put up with while others will run at the first sign of difficulty or when things don’t go their way. I know people on both ends of the spectrum and I’m still not sure which one is happier in the long run. Perhaps those who accept their situation and get on with it, whether it is a boring job, a not so exciting relationship or a bad hair day, are better off because they are content with what they have. But maybe they are just too scared to look for something else, perhaps something better?
Older generations appear to have stuck at it and don’t run when times got tough. So does that mean they’re happier? Do they look back when they’re 75 and think how happy they were that they took their lemons and made their lemonade? Or do they wish they had been more willing or able to change their circumstances?
Then there are those people who wouldn’t put up with things not being perfect like they imagined and if they don’t like the ways things are going, they’ll change course and look for something new. Are these people brave and determined? Or are they naïve in thinking that there’s a perfect happy ending out there?
Sometimes it’s hard to know what you should put up with and when it’s time to say “enough is enough”. A boyfriend who leaves his dirty clothes on the floor is hardly a reason to look for a new model but how many times should you accept empty apologies or bad days at work. Maybe we should just be grateful because we’re better off than many others but even though we know that, it doesn’t seem to stop us wanting more.
I must have been asked about 10 times these last couple of weeks; “Any New Years Resolutions?” as if saying ” Happy New Year” to everyone 16 days into January wasn’t enough. New Years Resolutions are not something I have ever really thought about, it was always just that thing people talk about around this time of year to fill the conversation gaps. In fact, if you think about it, everyone asks the question as if it’s totally normal but really what you’re asking is quite personal. “No thanks coffee guy, I actually DON’T want to share my plans to lose weight, climb Mount Everest or adopt a child with you while I wait for my Latte.”
When you ask people about their resolutions, do you really think they are giving you their honest answer about their hopes and dreams for the next year? I know when someone asks me I just brush it off with the old faithful; healthy eating, less alcohol… At least that way if/when you fall off the wagon it’s not really of much importance. But if you really had an amazing goal that you wanted to achieve or something you wanted to change in your life, like open a successful business or swim across the Channel, would you avoid telling people just in case you couldn’t quite get there?
According to the ever reliable Wikipedia a New Years Resolution is “a commitment that an individual makes on New Year’s”. But how many of us are really committed? I don’t just mean to a resolution but I mean to things in general? Are you committed to your day-to-day goals at work or at home, are you committed to recycling or stopping global warning or is it just something you think you should be doing? If we’re not committed then we are never really going to succeed. If you think you should sign up to the gym just because you’ve seen so many adverts on tv about losing those excess kilos but you’re not really committed to having a healthier lifestyle then why bother? You really are just setting yourself up for failure.
Isn’t it about time we started to think about what it is we are really committed too and work towards those goals instead of the superficial ones we think we should be doing at this time of the year. What do you REALLY want to do this year? Where do YOU really want to be? These are the questions we should all be asking ourselves, and not just in the New Year but every day. Time flies and before you know it you’ll be in 2013 weighing the same as this year and no closer to achieving the real goals in your life…….
P.S. saying I REALLY want to marry Johnny Depp this year won’t get you anywhere, trust me!
The grass is always greener is not a new concept and it’s something which I think most of us have experienced at some point. What if I had accepted the other job? What if I’m not going to be happily ever after? What if I never see the world or get married before I’m 30? There are some questions which we might never know the answers to but there comes a time when you just have to make a decision and stick to it (sometimes for better or for worse…) or at least that’s what I thought.
According to the authors of The choice effect: Love and Commitment In An Age Of Too Many Options – a new generation of women exists – the choister. A choister is “a woman who, by happy accident of geography and timing, has more options at her fingertips than any previous generation.”
Choisters are normally, like myself, in their twenties living in a western democracy and have everything they could ever want within their reach ( perhaps not always in budget but still attainable!). Fancy a 12 month sabbatical and a trip around the world? Or perhaps a baby at 42? Maybe you want to have 25 boyfriends before you settle down? It’s all possible.
And what about your career? Job possibilities may be slimmer in the current climate but the actual options haven’t diminished. We can still choose between office worker, pilot or president if that’s what takes our fancy. Something previous generations of women didn’t have so easy.
However, all this choice makes it even harder for us to actually choose. With so many great possibilities, how are we supposed to know which is the best one to take? What if we make the wrong decision and regret it. I mean, I can’t even choose where I want to go on holiday. What if I go to the Asia but we could have had more fun in the States? What if, what if…. Life’s great mystery! Really I should be telling myself: “Oh for god’s sake… just be grateful that you can go anywhere at all outside your home town!”
We have become spoilt as a generation and unhappy because of it. With so many ‘What If’s?’ going around your head, it makes it hard to stop and appreciate what you actually have. A house, a good job, a family, a partner and most importantly health. Even if we just have a couple of these, shouldn’t it be enough to make us happy? Well, it seems not. Perhaps life was easier when it was all mapped out for us a few generations ago: marriage, babies and growing old. Doesn’t sound too exciting but at least we would have just got on with life instead of wondering about it. Hmmm.. What if I could travel back in time and give it a try? What if……Luckily that’s not a choice for me… YET!
I recently read an article in Stylist offering people a chance to ‘play shop’ in a retail space in Central London for 7 days courtesy of the Hospital Club. It was aimed at entrepreneurs – people with a great business idea who hadn’t got it off the ground yet. The competition gave them the opportunity to ‘live their dream’ for one week and it could be anything from selling cookies to an exhibition of shoe designs or holding a social experiment.
At first I thought, what a great idea! How inspiring for people who haven’t had that lucky break they’re waiting for. But the more I thought about it, it actually made me a bit jealous. I kept thinking: what about the rest of us? Wouldn’t it be great if we could all have a ‘trial period’ to see if our dream job is really everything we imagined it to be? Obviously, many of us probably have a probation period with any new job, but normally that’s to see if the company are happy with us, not the other way around.
Just think about it. Wouldn’t it be great to have a few weeks working in your new possible job before you actually accept it? That way at least you could see if your new boss was actually more Miranda Priestly or David Brent!
You could get a real feel for the place and see if it was somewhere you’d like to be everyday. You could also have hands-on experience of the work, not just read what was on the job advert.
So why don’t companies do this? Perhaps they’re afraid that no one will want to come and work there after the trail. Or perhaps they just don’t want to invest the time and resources. Or maybe they just don’t want to let the possible new employee actually make a decision before they’ve arrived.
I do admit that it could be slightly chaotic but in my ideal world I would like to think that before they offer me my dream job, I would get to have a try at said ‘dream job’ first. Just to make sure it really is somewhere I could see myself working. I mean, how do you know what your favourite flavour of ice cream is without trying all the others first? Well, it should be the same with your job. You should be able to try out the possible options.
Sometimes we seem to lose sight of the fact that working isn’t just about paying the bills. Where we work is the place where we probably spend most of our time and most of our lives. So that should be a place you love, shouldn’t it?
Perhaps I’m too demanding…. Or maybe I’m just an idealist. Or maybe you could call me a recruiter of the future? (Well, not officially… give me a 2 week trial to see if I like the position first!)