When Life Gives You Mud

Everyone has heard the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

It’s sort of a motivational way of looking at the world with optimistic eyes.  Even when what you wanted was one thing and you get something other than what you expected, you can still find enjoyment in all things.

It’s a pretty useful sentiment, applicable to just about every realm of life.  I remember a run I went on several years ago, wearing a brand new pair of running shoes.  Now, no one can really expect their fancy schmancy new shoes to stay “new” very long when you use them for things like running, but I had an expectation that they’d be new for at least one whole run.  And then the sprinklers happened.  I was running in an area that had sprinklers everywhere–they were almost unavoidable and I found myself doing a strange new form of acrobatic running, as if I was trying out for American Ninja Warrior, to avoid getting all wet and a little muddy.  Until I paused long enough to sort of “step back” and observe myself taking these drastic measures to get out of the way of … sprinklers?  The exact same sprinklers that as a child I would run through endlessly with my brothers and sister, even if (and especially when) we were wearing clothes not intended for sprinklers.  And sprinklers?  That provide such delightful, momentary relief from the heat of summer mornings?  Seriously.  Sprinklers?  Thankfully, I got over my expectations, and I am happy to say that I learned something about myself that day.  I’d much rather have moments of sprinkler love, sprinkler cool, sprinkler smiles, and sprinkler playfulness, than clean, dry shoes.  I mean really, what am I going to remember–and appreciate more? That I still have “like new” shoes, or that every time I see my not-so-new-anymore shoes I remember running with freedom and irreverence through the sprinklers, through the puddles, through the mud, and into a moment I want to remember and re-live any chance I get?

I thought of this sprinkler run this morning as I walked away from the November Project workout on Carson Beach.  If you were there, you know that we all got very sandy, very muddy, or both.  We played some Sharks & Minnows, we did a 10 minute circuit that included lunges, burpees, crab walk, more burpees, sand skipping (or high-knee running), more burpees, partner wheel-barrows, and some Bojans for good measure.  There was a good chance that you got sand in and on every part, crevice, and hole in your body, inside all your clothes, and in all the places you didn’t know about.  For some this is just a cost-effective means to a spa-quality exfoliation treatment.  We finished up with a women vs. men race to fill buckets with sand.  It was impressively close, though the dudes pulled off a win.  Dan Foiles was a human wheelbarrow of sand and earned a rinse off in the ocean.

running race

I think a lot of folks were eager to get in the water cool off, clean off, and enjoy a few moments in the ocean before going on to our full and busy days.  And then life gave us mud.  The tide was low and the water was way out there.  We walked from dry sand to wet sand, to squishy sand, to muddy sand, to shallow water with super squishy mud, to deeper water with knee deep mud.  People’s faces led me to believe that this wasn’t the pristine ocean experience we were hoping for.  We kinda thought we were getting beach, and what life gave us this morning was muddy-low-tide beach.  And we made lemonade.  Not out of the mud.  That’s both mixing metaphors and would taste disgusting.  But, do you want to remember today by how you stayed in bed, or stayed sand-free, mud-free, or sweat-free?  Or do you want to remember that time we did Destination Deck at the beach and Deniz carried Chris Payne 150 yards over his shoulder in order to throw him in the water?  That time the workout was short and hard and we we got all intimate with the sand?  That time we played games and and had silly but intense competition just for fun?  We ran, or biked, and got ourselves to the workout and we started our day at the beach with our November Project friends, family, community.  That’s what I’m going to remember about today.

Sometimes you play in the mud, run in the sprinklers, or simply make lemonade.  When life gives you lemons, sprinklers, and mud–that’s what you do.  A little fun goes a long way.

I’d love to know what kind of “lemonade” we can make today as a tribe.  Your challenge is to take any situation that might feel a little like lemons, and turn it into lemonade.  Hell, there might even be sprinklers you see that you can run in.  Bonus points go to anyone who documents your optimistic moments on Instagram.  Tag @novemberprojectbos and #makinglemonade.

Keep changing the world.

Have a great day!

group photo

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