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.
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!