What do you do When Live Gives you a Lemon That Looks Like a Middle Finger?


I spent the last couple of months thinking I was going to get fired from my job.  I’ve worked at the company for almost thirteen years, which is – for all intents and purposes – my entire adult life.  I was in a bit of a panic, as you can imagine.

Last week I finally got the call.  I am being retained.  I have survived one more round of Corporate America’s Hunger Games.  It a relief and I’m glad that I won’t have to rent out the house I just bought and go back to mowing lawns and babysitting, which was pretty much what I was doing before I got this job.

It’s good news.  But I’m feeling pretty wiped out.  First, the stress has taken a toll.  And I have a bad case of survivor’s guilt over the people who were not so fortunate.  But most of all, I am rethinking some of the plans that I had made for myself in the past few quarters.

In particular…

This time last year I was breaking up with a man I thought I was going to marry and have kids with.  We had been together for close to two years and he had told me that he decided that he didn’t want to have children after all.

I decided that I didn’t need a man to have a family.  I make a decent living and I can make it work.  It might even be better than co-parenting with someone like this man, who thought he knew what he wanted but was never going to come through and distract me from the parenting experience by filling me with resentment.

I decided that the plan didn’t need to change, even if it was just me.  I sold my condo.  Bought a house.  At one point, I flirted with the idea of going to the sperm bank for my 37th birthday, but then I found out that I might be losing my job, so I put a pin in that part.

I managed to squeak through this time… but it was a near miss.  In David and Goliath, Malcom Gladwell talks about how the experience of a “near miss,” like being in London during the German air raids and having the house next to yours bombed, can actually embolden a person.  They feel like they went through something so completely extreme and survived and they feel more confident that next time their luck will hold.

This experience is not having that effect on me.  I don’t feel secure in my career.  If I had to scramble and move into a friend’s basement and take a job cleaning houses for a while to make ends meet, then that would have been fine.  But what if I had a kid?  I feel bad enough putting my dog through a lowering of station.  I just don’t think I can do it.  It just seems so incredibly selfish.

This was kind of what I had in mind when I started this blog about “making lemonade.”  The romantic part of my life didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean I need to give up on all the life experiences I wanted to have, right?

Do you feel like I’m asking you to feel sorry for me because I didn’t get fired?  Because that’s not my intention.  I’m just feeling a little down and I’m trying to articulate to myself why that may be.  It’s probably just the release of the Adrenaline.  And a touch of PMS.  Also I found another grey hair.  I have the first-world-problems blues.

Nothing to do but to go back to the kitchen and make up a new recipe for lemonade.

About Rachel Lewis

I am a writer, ceramic artist, knitter, and stepmom. As a playwright, I had six short plays produced in showcases and festivals in Manhattan, Salt Lake City, and Austin. My full-length play, Locking Doors, was presented by Wordsmith Theatre Company in The New Lab Theatre (University of Utah) in 2005. I co-wrote a teleplay titled “Thank God I’m Atheist” which won the 2015 “No God But Funny” contest founded by the Center for Inquiry. My short nonfiction essay, “It’s Coming Down,” was published by the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. My essay "The Red Rock Chronicles" was published in Contemporary West magazine. I currently work in pharmaceuticals professionally and write recreationally, but dream of making the transition to write professionally and do pharmaceuticals recreationally. I am a Utah native and live in Salt Lake City with my family and our Goldendoodle. I am working on a collection of humorous non-fiction essays and a second full-length play. Follow me at: rachelclewis.com @rachel_lewis_ut (Twitter) @rachel_lewis_ut (Instagram)

3 responses to “What do you do When Live Gives you a Lemon That Looks Like a Middle Finger?

  1. JP

    There are a lot of recipes out there- I’m sure that you will find a tasty one.xoxo

  2. gina

    Ambivalence is certainly expected in ur circumstances. Being sad and sorry for what went on is a human reaction. Be kind to urself during loss and stress. Waxing poetic, sorry. Maybe should learn to take own advice

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 122 other subscribers

Recent Comments

Gina Weaver on The Elephant’s New Clothes
Gina Weaver on Sweetums
Gina Weaver on Great Expectations
Sarah Bentley on Great Expectations
Rachel Lewis on The Other Boats