Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thirty Days of Thanks: Luck (Part II)

"Is it fate or random chance, how can I decide?
Are we victims of circumstance when destinies collide?"

I open tonight's discussion (and...I'd love for this to turn into a discussion, because I'm curious to hear how some of you would classify this) with a quote from "Somebody's Out There," by Triumph.

A buddy sent me an e-mail yesterday, calling me out on my recent blog post about luck, arguing that I'd wrongly classified my situation. Here (with his permission) is what he wrote:
"And I have an issue with your blog post from this morning/last night. Luck had nothing to do with you two getting together. That makes it seem like it was completely out of your control. Luck had nothing to do with you infrequently updating your blog. Luck had nothing to do with you and your dorky outings to poetry readings. Luck had nothing to do with you following up on a possibility... luck had nothing to do with anything."
He raises a good point. I ended that blog post by calling myself "one lucky fool," which refers more to whom I was so fortunate to find because of my trip to a poetry reading and my ownership of this blog. [note to all my poet friends who read this blog: the "dorky" term in his comment was aimed directly at me and me alone. I'm sure he thinks other poet/writer types are cool. except me. I'm used to it.]

But what would you call the rather odd series of events that led me to my relationship? Fate? Destiny? Luck? Or simply random day-to-day activities?

I've been called a lucky person in other areas of my life. I play the occasional hand of poker, and have been known to draw the right card at the right time. That's not necessarily luck, because the order of the cards was already pre-determined after the shuffle. But some people are seen as luckier than others. One professional poker player, John Juanda, has the official nickname (and Twitter account) of LuckBoxJuanda. Does that mean that he doesn't also have the skill to play the game? Um, no.

When I'm standing at the dart line and I let go of a dart, I may think that it's doomed from the moment it leaves my fingers, because the shot doesn't feel right. And drops into the triple or the bullseye. Is that luck? I don't know.

I used to play more basketball than I do now, and sometimes I'd throw up a shot that had no chance. And...swish! (or perhaps a bank. oops.)

If I was really lucky, I would have won the lottery by now, right? Because it takes so much luck to hit every number, and cash in those millions. Or...does it?

It's a valid question. I feel extremely lucky and fortunate to have found the incredible person I get to spend my life with, but was the process of finding her lucky? Probably not. It was Doing what I do. Going to a free local poetry reading. Writing a blog entry. And (I love his last line) following up on a possibility. Because it felt right.

Tongue in cheek, he adds an exclamation point to his e-mail by closing with:
"Now as for why I don't have anybody writing blog posts like that for me? I'm just unlucky."
I'm thankful for any luck and fate and destiny and random positivity in my life, whether created by me or thrust upon me.

"I find that the harder I work,
the more luck I seem to have."
—Thomas Jefferson


  1. I have so many things to say about the concept of "luck"...but I'm not sure exactly how to say them (SOME biologists might be good with words, I'm not one of them!). So I preface this with--you said you welcome discussion, and...I'm sorry this is long.

    I think if one looks hard enough, every single occurrence in life could be attributed to luck, good or bad. Once, for fun, I was able to attribute my meeting (and eventually marrying) Steve to the fact that the wind was blowing more strongly than expected on a June day, three years before I even met him. So, was that luck? Or is that

    I don't think that everything good happened to me because of luck--to be honest, I've worked hard for a lot of it. And yet...and yet. Thinking about this, I really get why religious people say they feel blessed. I'm not very religious, but I get that concept. I feel lucky, or blessed, in that I'm no more deserving than anyone. But here I am...and I have to say that the people I've been fortunate enough to call friends and family are some of the best people I could know. That anyone could know. That, right there, is some kind of blessing...or luck.

  2. Raise a glass to a strong June wind, eh Becky? :)

    That had to be a game like Six Degrees of Separation. ("If this wouldn't have happened, then neither would this or this or this...and then I never would have met Steve...years later.")

    I don't know if what I believe in is called luck, or good fortune, or any of a dozen other terms.

    In my day-to-day life, I sometimes lose sight of how fortunate I am. But in the grand scheme of things (and sometimes in a poker game)...I'm a lucky, lucky boy.

    Particulary because somehow, somewhere, you found this dorky blog with a Zen dart theme...and shared it with a friend.

    Thank you, friend! :)