It really is.
I came across a funny meme the other day that gave me what I needed to conquer the ole writer’s block. Sometimes the simplest thing sparks the mind into action. So this meme (of which I can’t take credit for and wish I knew who to give credit to) is of an older guy with a shot of whiskey in hand, and the bold wording surrounding his picture reads:
“Life has never given me lemons. It has given me anger issues, anxiety, a love for alcohol, a serious dislike for stupid people…But not lemons.”
For those of you that aren’t picking up what I’m putting down, this meme is a play on the old saying “When life hands you lemons. . . make lemonade.” Work with me here, folks.
Bottom line is, we’ve been through a lot.
Some days, I literally want to crawl back in bed and just start all over. Others, I (mentally) throw my hands up and scream “IS THIS REAL LIFE?!?!?”.
But, no matter how much we’ve been through, (I’ve learned the hard way that) life is truly what we make it, regardless of the hand we are dealt.
Lemons and lemonade aside — we all have good days, not so good days, and really freakin bad days. Believe me, I know. But, these “good” days or “bad” days are driven by our attitude and our will to move through whatever our situation may be: Choosing to embrace the positive. . . Being thankful for the chance to start again the following day.
Our attitudes play a huge role in our daily outcome. Yes, my people, the world IS your oyster.
It wasn’t my intention to get all philosophical on you, but it’s bound to happen every now and then. Sorry, not sorry. I have to do this to myself constantly, ya know? Play the part of my own inner shrink from time to time. “Take a deep breath, Claire. It’s gonna be okay.” Meanwhile, I typically want to punch my “inner shrink” in the face. So, I feel ya!
The world is your oyster. Translation: Life is what you make it.
Thomas was accustomed to bad news before I ever came back around, (see Hello, October. and Does Everything (Really) Happen For a Reason? to catch up) so he would often tell me that I am only making it worse by letting stuff get to me. I wanted to punch him in the face for that. Until, one day, I realized he was so right. He has this whole survival mode, living life to the fullest thing under control, as well as the coveted “I don’t give a crap about what anyone thinks” mentality. He really doesn’t care. Let’s just say I want to be like him when I grow up, and I am getting there slowly but surely.
In that same respect, I am helping him let go of a few dollars and make a few dinner decisions (see post: A is for Architect) Let’s just say, ‘frugal’ would be a very nice way of describing my husband’s spending habits. And we have remained happily married for seven plus years by having separate bank accounts.
Getting to the point. We really do bring our strengths to the table and share them with each other. We are who we are, and we are making progress and bettering ourselves as we go.
The “infertility thing” was really a turning point for me, as it was the first true tragedy I had ever experienced. And it was made even weirder because it wasn’t something tangible — so I felt silly for being so devastated.
When we got the initial bad news from the first testicular biopsy, (and the reproductive endocrinologist told us it was the end of the road) we just weren’t ready to take no for an answer. That’s when we turned to the specialist in San Fran. Said reproductive endo sat us down and told us in a very frank way that we were literally flushing money down the toilet looking for more. We didn’t care. We needed a second opinion. From the best damn doctor we could find, and we found him.
Once we committed to this, we decided that we needed to get in shape. So we worked out together and lost a bunch of weight which made us feel great (currently need to jump back on that bandwagon…it’ll happen). We also decided, hell, if we are going out to San Fran we might as well make a vacation out of it (slightly forgetting the trauma to Thomas’s man parts).
San Fran was one of the most beautiful places we’ve been together, and although we were only there for a short time, we made the most of every minute. We walked across the famed bridge, went to Sausalito (by paying an open-top tour bus driver twenty bucks to let us on when we realized we couldn’t actually ‘walk’ there once we made it across the bridge), we ate a hell of a lot of sourdough bread, we rode the street cars, we walked (climbed) up and down many a street (hill), we saw the seals at Fishermans Wharf, we found a really awesome breakfast spot, we had a brownie sundae at Ghirardelli, we took the ferry to and from Alcatraz. We ate our weight in chocolate croissants and (I) drank fancy designer froth lattes at many a cutesy little coffee shop. Zero calories were counted because we more than quadrupled our ’10K step’ Fitbit requirement on the daily.
We lit candles at every church we saw. Because—Hope.
We were our own travel agent and tour guide, and it was so much fun despite the extenuating circumstance. This is when our adventure really began; when our world seemed to crash and burn otherwise. Up until now, we hadn’t really “lived” as a married couple.
We turned a lot of “why’s” into “why nots?” We learned the value of our relationship, and embraced the fact that we truly enjoy each other’s company. We are friends, first and foremost, and that makes all the difference in the world.
Travel has been therapeutic for us. It helps us to look forward to something, even on our darkest days.
After San Fran, and the gut wrenching news that followed a few months after, we decided we would plan yet another trip, an attempt to ‘celebrate’ our upcoming fifth wedding anniversary (despite the internal hell we were going through). This time to St. John, USVI — hands down, one of our favorite places on earth.
While we would give up everything for the chance to have children, life just happened to hand us a bag full of lemons instead of babies.
Sure some days are better than others, and we most certainly still have the “I hate everyone” kind of days where we want to shut ourselves off completely. But that is life.
We have family, friends, dogs, and most importantly, we have each other. Who knows what will happen in the future regarding kids and trust me, we are leaving that door wide open. God’s got this base covered–and while we don’t have all the details, this is something we (now) know for sure.
In the meantime, we are making a hell of a lot of lemonade. Why not?
The world is our oyster. It is chargrilled and scrumptious, and we will enjoy it.
Every. Single. Bite.
Visit (Thomas’s cousin) Mallory’s Etsy shop: MalloryBurkeDesigns to purchase the oyster graphic print showcased in this post or any of her fun little illustrations. Use promo code “LYONHEARTED” for free shipping through the end of November. I currently own three of her prints and they really are perfect–They fit right into the 8×10 frame of your choice and would make a great Christmas gift or any day happy. It’s important to have things you love in your home, and I do love these. So Much.
Mallory also does custom work if there is something specific you would like. Contact her via email for commission pieces: firstname.lastname@example.org–subject line- ILLUSTRATION and mention Lyonhearted for free shipping through 11/30/16.
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*professional St. John photos included in second slideshow are by Savanah Loftus Photography . She had me at “I’m not satisfied with awkward poses and plastic smiles.”