Last week, as I moved all my worldly possessions from a tiny village in Berkshire, to the metaphorical ‘Big Smoke’, I made a comment on Twitter.
It was exactly 1 year to the day that I had been ‘sacked off’ so brutally by Henley Boy. An unthinking act which he most probably forgot within a week or two, but one which changed my adult life forever.
One year on, and I was changing job and moving 50 miles across the country because of the Henley Boy. Or rather, because of the spineless way he let me down. Because that sack off led to a Challenge. And that Challenge led to a Blog. And that Blog has led to countless encounters and opportunities in the past twelve months, all of which culminated in my move to London, and decision to make a stab at life as a freelance writer.
The tweet proved a popular one – with friends old and new replying back, retweeting it, and adding it as a Favourite. Most of the comments echoed what I was feeling, as I looked around my brand new London flat. Who’d have known it would have led to this?
But one comment resonated in particular.
‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’
I liked the expression for two reasons.
1) It made Henley Boy a ‘lemon’ … which frankly he was. What a tool! (and what a shame it took me about 4 months to realise!)
2) I was the one who made the lemonade.
Cool as it is to think that everything happens for a reason, 30 Dates didn’t just happen all of its own accord. And the successes of the blog aren’t just down to chance and timing. For the past year, I’ve worked bloody hard on this blog. Yes, I’ve enjoyed it. And yes, I’ve seen it as a fun pastime, devoting hours of my spare time to writing, or dates, or interviews, or going to dating events. But in a way, it has been a second job for the past year – and one of the reasons I was happy to step away from my normal day job for good this week.
For the past three months, I’ve been editing the Guardian’s Dating Blog, and it’s a role which they actively head-hunted me for. That wasn’t just fate, or good timing. They approached me because they liked what I’d done on this blog, and that was down to long hours and hard work.
I think the reason I like the phrase so much, is because, to take a similar-seeming metaphor, I’ve always been a ‘glass is half-full’ kind of girl.
I’ve had a lot of really rather crappy stuff happen to me in the past. But I was brought up to see challenges as hurdles, not road-blocks. You find a way to get over anything in your path.
Yes, life gave me a lemon. But it was my own determination which turned the lemon into lemonade. Sitting at work, moping over Henley Boy, I didn’t feel like ‘me’. I wanted to get back my mojo, and see out the final months of my twenties in a fun and memorable way, befitting of the way I’d lived the other 29 years and 9 months. And that I did.
Despite the hundreds of emails I’ve had seeming to state the opposite, NOT everyone will have a Henley Boy in their life. And I’m by no means suggesting, that even if you do, you should go and start writing a dating blog! (For a start that might put me out of business …! )
But my Dad taught me at a very young age, that everyone gets their share of crap to deal with in life. For some people it’s only minor, for others it’s huge, and it keeps coming. We all get dealt very different cards. The key is how you play them. When life deals you a rubbish situation, you are the one who chooses whether to take it lying down, or come out fighting. And I know that I’m a fighter.
Which is why I’m bloody proud of my jug of lemonade. And that jug is more than half-full.
I get a lot of emails from daters who have hit rock-bottom. Singletons who have been treated badly, and given up hope. And all I can say is it does get better, and you will get over it. But that has to start from you. You are the one who has to recognise the lemon in your life, and turn it into lemonade.
No one else can do that for you. So get squeezing!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx