Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Luck: chance or made?


How often do even those of us who are supposedly (and I use the word advisedly!) not superstitious avoid walking under a ladder, stepping on a crack (now how in the world that could have “cracked my mother’s back” I’ll never know), or have a favorite color, number, object etc. that brings us luck? We all would like to believe that it is a matter of chance.

I have periods where consulting my horoscope amuses me, makes me believe in it – or not depending upon whether I like the message or not – or I think, shows me a sign. Most of the time of course we reject or accept the messages along our paths by how we wish them to be and not at all upon the facts of any given situation.

For those who win fame and fortune we tend to think that they were “lucky”, that something outside themselves allowed them to achieve that status. We do this so that we can believe that, we too, with minimal input can win that lottery, buy that fancy car, upgrade our flight, vacation or whatever, purchase a new home. The key here is believing that we only have to trust in Lady Luck to achieve our heart’s desires.

We rarely, if ever, look deeper into what let the athlete win, what allowed the actor/author/word of your choice become famous. Should we do so, even then we tend to downplay the hard work, the repetition, the many hours spent practicing their art and say, but yes, without luck they still wouldn’t have “made it”.

And we won’t even go into the luck, or lack thereof, in many lives.
Mostly it’s perception: I have had bad things happen to and around me, nevertheless I have always felt lucky. Feeling lucky has pushed me to make my own luck – or continue what I perceive to be as “my” luck. If I play the lottery, I feel lucky even if I don’t win (and I can’t remember the last time I even won the price of the ticket!) as often I will have the “replay” – once even three times in a row. If I sprain an ankle, break my arm or otherwise have a health issue, surely it is because something worse would have happened, had I not.

Signs abound of my "luck": I live in my own home, have a car, two children both of whom currently have jobs, no major health issues, enough money to indulge in one of my favorite activities – travel – or to purchase books, go to concerts. Statistically I am better off than most of the world. In some ways that is luck, the luck of being born in the right place at the right time to the right culture, in other ways I have contributed by studying, working hard, saving and living wisely (i.e. no credit other than a house mortgage).

Ah, but the true "luck": that of having family and friends, of being happy is something that I haven't purchased but have been blessed to receive.

Still it sure didn’t hurt my feelings of luck to find a four-leaf clover and another stone heart on one of last weekend’s walks. They just place themselves along my path begging to be discovered and if that isn’t luck, I don’t know what is!