Monday, March 10, 2014
What's Luck Got To Do With It?
Some folks I know, purposely being non-specific so as to avoid incrimination, say things like, "I wish I was as lucky as you." Or "Your life is so much easier than mine." Or they'll throw out an excuse like, "Well if my life was as good as yours then..."
I find these comments so interesting because a) my life isn't that easy. Did they miss the part where Aaron almost died, my career in behavioral health ended in under a month, and my name was defamed all over New Mexico? It's all relative really. When I Facebook stalk people, they all look extremely abundant, thin, married to the best guy/girl ever, with 2.5 kids, a well-groomed pet, and a hybrid Lexus in the garage. Truth is, everyone is struggling with something and everyone is kicking ass at something. Apples and oranges as Aaron likes to say. No point in attempting to compare ourselves to anyone else.
The other reason I find these comments interesting is that I don't think luck has much to do with how life turns out for a person. Luck is something that comes in handy when purchasing a lottery ticket or finding something you really love at a yard sale. I guess I wouldn't classify myself as "lucky" or "unlucky." What a disservice to chalk up your successes and failures to luck, or a lack there of.
And before I spout anything else, I need appease the pleasing part of myself by saying that I am extremely grateful for my life. Sometimes just for the thrill of it, I let my mind wander back in time and I think, "it's a God damn miracle I survived." Honestly, I was so foolish for so long. I also need to confess that I do not want to come off as a know-it-all, self-righteous (gross!), snob either so just tuck that in there too.
So this morning I'm chatting on the blue tooth and the luck comment is laid down and my first reaction is guilt. "I am lucky," I think and then there's a jolt inside me and I feel a little anger creeping up. Wait a second here. It's not luck. It's work. Therapy, spiritual work, college, graduate school. Lots of sacrifices, lots of time, lots of money and all in the hopes that I might improve my quality of life and learn the skills necessary to have a good career and a happy, healthy relationship. It's work. It's scary and it's never ending. I have not arrived anywhere. In my mind I'm still climbing that mountain. Enjoying the hike immensely, but still climbing.
As a therapist (or trained as one anyway), I can say that there's a big difference between people who show up and do their work and those who don't. There's really no luck involved, just guts and a willingness to split yourself open to find the real you.