Do You Believe in Luck?

From plinky.com:

Do you believe in luck?

I’m on a roll, I’m on a roll
This time, I feel my luck could change
(Lucky, Radiohead)

The (amateur) poker player in me has to believe in luck. I’ve experienced it, when hand after hand has worked in my favor, whether it’s what’s in my pocket or how the flop, the turn or the river gets dealt out. But I’ve also seen my luck change in those same games and fortunately for me (and my pocket book) I’ve been able to recognize that it’s changed. I’m not one to have my luck go from good to bad and then stick around and wait for it to go good again.

I usually know when I’ve been beaten which makes it very easy for me to walk away.

I used to get mad frustrated when people described me as being lucky for things i worked hard for. My career, especially, my marriage, painfully. When I was pregnant, I was told wistfully how lucky I was to be having a baby; I recognized how fortunate I in fact was, but lucky would have been getting pregnant on the first try. Or the second or the third. Or without spending thousands of dollars on drugs and procedure and being poked week after week.

If I sound bitter, it’s because the word ‘lucky’ is used so freely, without thought. Or, perhaps i should say that it’s used mistakenly and in the wrong context. I’m not sure much thought is given to the sacrifices that are often made to achieve this random assigned state of “luckydom”

A Wikipedia article refers to luck as “that which happens to a person beyond that person’s control”. The job I had, the house I live in, the clothes I wear, the car I drive, the vacations I’ve gone on – none of those are the result of good luck. They’re the result of a lot of hard work or sacrifices – giving up one indulgence for another in most cases. Even getting to stay home with Clara while so many mothers have no choice but to work – I’ve myself described my good fortune in this particular situation as being ‘lucky’ and yet, it’s not luck. Again, it’s hard work and sacrifice, and I think there are more woman that could be as fortunate as I am if they inventoried their lives and assessed what they can do without. It’s a question of priority in many cases, staying home with Clara until she’s ready for school is more important to me than keeping up with the Jones’s. Clara’s more important to me than a house twice as big as where we live.

So who are the ‘lucky’ ones if not me?

Lucky is being born with a fast metabolism and being naturally thin. It’s being born with flawless skin or straight teeth. Simplified, it’s being born with good genes. When I think of school days and the kids that were popular and those that were not, it would seem to me that it was a matter of luck. Of being born with good genes. Unpopular scrawny me with the overbite, thick glasses and scaly eczema was NOT lucky.

Lucky is being in the right place at the right time, getting a fantastic job not because you have the required qualifications but because you know the right people, winning the lottery.

I’m not saying I’m NOT lucky – despite feeling like I (alongside my husband) have worked hard for the things I have – my appearance included. I recognize that I’m lucky in other ways, ways that are important to me. The country I live in, my rights as a woman, the color of my skin, as much as it pisses me off that in today’s world, that’s still an issue. My health. The health of those I love, my parents, my siblings, my husband, my inlaws, my friends and last but not least, Clara. Clara especially. Everything about Clara in fact, makes me lucky – not just her health but her kind and gentle nature, her sense of humor, her love of dancing, the outdoors, life itself. My husband said the other night when we were talking about her personality that a lot of who she is is a result of me – and the time I spend with her. Maybe he’s right, and maybe who she is has less to do with luck and is another example of hard work and sacrifice. But still – I fully recognize that fate could have given me a completely different child and no amount of hardwork or sacrifice would have made a difference.

So am I lucky? Yes, I am. Do I believe in luck? I do. Would I like luck to find me more often at the poker table? Who wouldn’t. But I’m not worried – because I know in other ways – the more important ways – Lady Luck has got me covered.

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