The Recipe for Happiness – An Allegory

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But Life doesn’t just give you lemons – it also hands you apples, and bananas, and watermelons, and grapes, and strawberries, and a whole assortment of other fruit. At first you may wonder how you’re supposed to make lemonade with all this. Are you supposed to keep the lemons and throw out all the other unnecessary items? Or are you supposed to stuff everything in the blender, turn it on, and hope for the best? But then you realize that you have the ingredients to make a delicious fruit salad. So you head out to do just that.

But you don’t know where to start. Juice the lemons? Slice the apples? Peel the bananas? THE FRUIT IS DRIVING YOU CRAZY. There’s just too much on your plate. So you take a deep breath and decide to organize everything you’ve been given. You try grouping them by size, then taste, but you finally settle on ordering them by color. There, done. That wasn’t so bad, you think. Now that you can see the fruit laid out more clearly, you move on to washing and preparing them.

The lemons are easy to juice, the apples simple to slice, the bananas hardly an effort to peel. But then you’re cutting the watermelon and the knife slips. You panic for a second when you see the streak of blood, even though it’s only a small injury. Pressing a wet cloth to the cut, you wait for the redness to soak through, wondering if this is really worth all this effort and pain. Maybe you should just head out to Starbucks to get a refreshing, barista-made drink and forget this whole make-your-own fruit salad thing. But then you remember that Life gave you these lemons and apples and bananas and even the watermelon for a reason. You can’t just give up now. Besides, you can practically see the final edible arrangement before you. So you clean yourself up and return to cutting the watermelon (carefully this time).

Once the fruit is laid out on the cutting board, all pretty and delectable, you realize you’re almost done. You scoop everything into a large crystal bowl, the kind your mother only allows you to use when important guests are over, and add a dollop of yogurt. Perfect, you think, as you grab a fork. You bring a grape up to your mouth, but something feels off. You’re not ready to enjoy this dish just yet. You grab your phone and call your family and friends. When they arrive, you all sit down together and enjoy the best fruit salad you’ve ever had. Thanks, Life.

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