Lemons? Yes! Please!

Furlough is in full swing. While we’re off an extra day of the week, we have a 20% paycut that comes along with it. We’re okay; we’ve saved enough to not have any issues, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t still sting a little. The loss in productivity at work is also something that stings...and that actually stings a bit more.

A few weeks ago I was in a training session for work and numerous class discussions revolved around the furlough. So many people were concerned about how it would affect their workload and productivity. Our instructor told us that while it no doubt was going to be painful, he encouraged us to use it as an opportunity to take a close look at how we might be able to work smarter and also determine what tasks could, in fact, take the back burner without causing the sky to come tumbling down. In other words, find the silver lining. We all knew that furlough was coming so we might as well try to use it to better ourselves. This spoke volumes to me.


Last week I was starving and didn’t want the ‘leftover buffet’ I’d brought for lunch so I ordered a to-go plate from a close by restaurant. I ordered water instead of tea in order to save $2. When the cashier asked if I wanted some lemon in my water, I hesitated before saying, “Umm, sure. Why not?” I normally don’t get lemon...like...never. I don’t know if I was in a funky mood or if I just wanted something free, but I said yes.

And you know what?

It was really good.

I sipped on that cup of water all afternoon and loved every sip. It was cool and refreshing and I kept asking myself why I didn’t get lemon more often. And then I started thinking. What if I take the lemons that are offered to me in other areas of life and try to find the opportunity within? What if...wait for it...what if I make lemonade from my lemons?

Since then I’ve been looking for opportunities to ‘make lemonade’ in light of our furlough. Since we have an extra day off, we’ve been working on projects around the house that we’ve been meaning to do for a while (read: a whole stinkin’ year). This past Monday we painted our kitchen. It looks so much better and I’m thrilled with it. We already had the paint so all it required was a couple rolls of tape and Ryan’s magic stirring tool and we were ready to go. We’ve also been able to rest more on the weekend because we know that we’ll have Monday to catch up before having to go to work on Tuesday.

We’re looking for the less expensive ways to accomplish some of our home improvement projects. For example, I’ll be painting a tacky gold light fixture with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint instead of purchasing a new one. This is not only saving us money, but also repurposing something that now won’t end up in the trash. And while we’re still getting our organic produce box each week, I’ve opted for the smaller size; it’s cheaper and we aren’t throwing as much out because it going bad before we can eat it. We’re eating out less, too. While doing more dishes is a bit of a bummer, we’re actually eating much healthier because we know what we’re eating.

Because we’re searching, we’re actually finding various ways to not only save some money, but also do things better and more efficiently. Most of them aren’t that big of an inconvenience to us...some are even fun. In some cases, we’re just realizing what we really need (and don’t really need). In many ways, it’s liberating. We’re kinda having fun with it.

I know I’m rambling, so what am I trying to say?  

I’m trying to encourage you to make lemonade with your lemons. Just give it a try. I’m certainly not saying that there’s a great solution to every trial that we face or that it’s easy to find happiness in the hard parts of life. Life is good, but it’s also hard. I know this. But, I really do believe that lemons can be useful. You just have to be willing to try.  

So...the next time you order water and your server asks if you want lemon?

Say yes.

You just might be surprised and actually like it.


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