Top o’ the mornin’ to ye! It’s the week of St. Patrick’s Day AND Daylight Savings, so I hope the luck of the Irish is putting a little spring in your step as well as mine. I’ve always enjoyed St. Patty’s, both for the hefty payday while working behind the bar, as well as for the guaranteed fun celebrating with friends on the other side. With the holiday quickly approaching it’s got me thinking a lot about the idea of “luck” and whether or not it actually exists.
We all know those people who seem to have been born with a silver spoon. The ones who have received, almost effortlessly, the best life has to offer while so many of the rest of us have suffered setback after setback. It’s hard to not be jealous of these people; or “green” with envy, if I want to stay on brand with this week’s theme. I personally have a great friend who falls into this category- the kind who was born into a wealthy family and still wins thousands at the casino even when they don’t need it. Even I struggle to not hate his guts every time I scratch off another losing lotto ticket (fun fact-I’ve never even won so much as a free ticket on a scratcher.)
But are these people really born with some kind of good cosmic fortune on their side, or is the product of good decision-making…OR is it all just an illusion? In my opinion, maybe it’s all three.
I am of the belief that we’re all given choices every single day, both big and small, and our quality of life is the sum of our reaction to those choices. From something as small as deciding what shoes to wear to as big as switching careers, every single decision we make shapes our reality. It is because of this I have a hard time feeling sorry for people who continue making poor decisions and place the blame on events in their lives. I’ve always felt we ALL have a sob story-unfortunately bad things happen every day, and it’s how you play those crappy hands that negate your happiness. Do you want to live in that pain and wallow in it and continue to be miserable or do you want to handle it, learn from it, do better and enhance your quality of life? I grew up with not the most desirable circumstances. If you were to calculate how my life was going to turn out based solely off my parents’ income and education statistics and housing demographic, the odds of me being where I am now are pretty low. But I’ve always prided myself on my tenacity for getting back up every time I’m knocked down, and my desire to have more out of life than was “given” to me which drove me to work hard and succeed.
After thinking long and hard, I can’t blame it all on that, as much as I’d like to.
I AM lucky. I was lucky as hell to be born with parents who loved me and wanted more for me than themselves and who didn’t have severe mental or addiction issues of their own. That was the initial factor that put me on the track for success and helped me beat those statistics unlike the same people who grew up in the trailer park around me. I was lucky to have great educators in an under-funded county school system who weren’t predatory or neglectful. And looking back over the years since I turned 16 forward, luck and my momma’s prayers are the ONLY explanations as to why I’m even still here to write this article, because I have done some truly stupid things that could have had dire consequences.
I struggle with my judgements, especially the way things are right now when it seems so many people want to pass responsibility for their own lives off on someone else. They want someone else to pay off their college debt, they want to blame every life struggle on childhood trauma, etc. I’ve always believed that life is tough and you have to learn to be tougher; that you lie in the bed you make. While I still believe that’s true, there are certain circumstances that I’ll never understand because I was lucky enough they didn’t happen to me. I’m healthy, with a strong family/friend circle and had a great upbringing despite my financial struggles.
It turns out no matter who you are, there is someone out there who has it better and worse than you. You could be laying destitute in the gutter without a tooth in your head and look beside you and there would be someone just as bad off but missing limbs and suddenly you’re the lucky one because you have arms and legs to crawl out.
As for the illusion aspect of it, I’ve discussed this many times. Before you compare someone else’s so-called charmed life to your own, just remember especially now in the age of social media, EVERYONE is showing their highlight reel. Those people who seem to have it all could be in misery behind the scenes. For all you know, they could be jealous of YOU.
So after all this thinking, I’m not sure if luck exists or not; the only thing that IS certain, is that it never hurts to be grateful and kind. I hope you all have a wonderful, festive week and wake up every day realizing just how lucky you are.