How’s your lemonade?

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, or so people say.

I disagree – if life gives you lemons, switch the ‘l’ and ‘m’ around and make melonade, which sounds awesome and should totally exist.  Or more realisable, make lemon cheesecake, which is equally awesome and actually possible.

Though seriously, the spirit of that age-old-adage is to make the most of what life throws at you.  That is all well and good, but how often do we actually look back and think about what we have done with life’s lemons?

I spent a good chunk of the last year in Cambridge working for a respectable technology firm, programming, testing and being generally nerdy.  I am ridiculously under-qualified for the industry, lacking any form of degree whatsoever, so this was mainly a work-experience exercise for me so that when I do have the relevant letters behind my name I can make the most of them.

But did I make the most of the year just gone?  Sure it was good fun.  Sure I had a laugh and made some new friends.  I can’t help but feel though that I could have done more, that I should have done more.  I spent a silly amount of company time on the internet.  OK, I had little else to do during that time, but I should have found work to do rather than sitting back, wasting away the precious seconds that I had there.  I didn’t apply myself quite as much as I could have done while working, choosing the path of least resistance at times instead of the best option or cutting corners that I deemed unnecessary on occasion.   All in all, I learnt a lot and gained a reasonable reputation among my peers, but I could have done so much more.

I just spent a week at a big Christian festival, Soul Survivor, where I was stewarding.  It was a challenging week, especially for someone as introverted and unimposing as myself.  There was so much interaction with other people, often interaction that involved stopping people from doing stupid things.  It certainly challenged my communication skills and plumbed the depths of my patience.

In retrospect, I did the work I was tasked with, to the best of my ability (mistakes are inevitable, given my lack of experience), but I never volunteered to do any other work.   Should I have?  Well, I am representing God, The Most High, here and I should be approaching each and every task with an utterly servant-hearted attitude, so in hindsight yes I should be more eager to go above and beyond the basics.

Soul Survivor also challenged me on a different note.  There is a particular venue, one that I despise with particular passion, that I managed to get dragged into twice this past week.  That venue, as I’m sure some readers who know me will have already guessed, is Mr. Boogies, the 70’s-style, cheesy disco.  Disco means dancing.  I don’t dance.  But strangely enough it was my strongest regret while on the journey home after the event.  I realise now I could have fired up the social aspect of the week to a whole new level had I just dropped my inhibitions and loosened up.  That is easier said than done of course.  I wouldn’t know where to start as far as dancing goes, and my complete lack of coordination creates a constant worry that I might break myself or some poor soul nearby with my inept flailing.  I have been known on occasion to jump around at a gig if I feel particularly in to it, and even with some simple, repetitive movement along the vertical axis (in theory at least) I still manage to collapse into the unfortunate people who find themselves in my immediate vicinity.  Adding  arm movement and extra dimensions of leg movement  seems to be a recipe for disaster.  And yet, I still wish I did.

I suppose it doesn’t help that I had set a precedent earlier in the week with my cynical capers outside some of the music venues I found myself stationed on.  I was prancing in a sarcastic manner, in a style inappropriate to the music playing, but I was prancing nonetheless.  In fact, I may even go so far to say it was enjoyable (though don’t tell anyone I said that), so why did I let things take a turn for the worst?  Surely I should have been loosening up and becoming more comfortable around my new-found companions.  Instead I was regressing, retreating to my inner shell of my comfort zone.

Despite the lack of dancing, I did have a whale of a time.  The melancholy in my musings comes from the fact I did not let things go further than they did.  I know I missed out.

So what can I learn from my retrospective spiel?  Certainly, it is important to give my all to all that I do, whether it is working in Cambridge or studying in Oxford or doing whatever life throws at me, wherever life throws it.  Not only is my own reputation in question, but also the reputation of God, who I represent in front of everyone who knows me as a Christian (and everyone should).  Also, I appreciate that I should relax a bit, and make the most of social situations, even if that means making a fool of myself and breaking other people.

So bring on Oxford and a huge workload.  Bring on Cambridge and the summer job it provides.  Bring on Soul Survivor 2011, bring on Mr Boogies, bring on the dancing.

Here’s hoping no one holds me to this.


~ by Dominic on 24 August, 2010.

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