Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are you lucky? Is anyone lucky?

I was thinking about luck today. I feel like I'm very lucky in many ways. I'm lucky to have the family that I do. I'm lucky to be in relative good health (above the hips anyway, as you all know about my crazy leg problems). That's not the kind of luck I'm thinking about.

I'm talking about having good luck. Finding a buck on the ground. Winning at a casino. That sort of thing. I don't think I like attributing that stuff to luck. That makes it seem so mystical and something I have no control over. Maybe I'll be lucky, maybe I won't. I guess I have to wait and see if good things happen. Maybe my luck will change unexpectedly. Is my life not in my own hands?

A quick Google search about luck quotes will yield tons of results about luck being connected to opportunity. I've always heard the quote as - luck is merely recognizing opportunity. I like this concept.

Let's say you find a dollar on the ground. Are you lucky or did you recognize the opportunity to pick up a dollar? Think about it like this - that dollar was going to be on the ground whether you walked by that spot or not. It would have been there whether you picked it up or not. Your interaction with that dollar did nothing to impact how, why, or when it was there. So you recognized the opportunity to pick up a dollar. Maybe it's crumpled and doesn't look like a dollar but you recognize it and grab it.

I'll use the casino reference as well. In the 16 months I've been living in Biloxi, MS I have never lost at the craps tables. Sure, I might go down a little bit while I'm playing but I cash out even or with a profit every single time. Am I just that lucky that a multi-billion dollar per year industry that wipes out people's life savings and destroys homes just happens to pay me? I'd hate that. At that point I might as well hand money to the dealer and tell him to let me know if I was destined to be lucky and win or not. I'll tell you why I win. I studied the game in detail. I know the odds. I did the math. I play smart and conservative. I hedge my bets. I'm very careful about the flow and placement of every chip. It is all about leveraging. How much luck does that sound like?

Maybe I'm too pragmatic. Maybe all of life is not about numbers. I do think, however, that luck is not something that is magically bestowed on you for no real reason at some time in your life and it is taken away just as suddenly.

There are opportunities out there. They exist at all times in all places. You may see them and take advantage. You may not. Remember, that dollar is going to be on the ground. Recognize it and pick it up. If that is the definition of luck, then I am lucky because I'm aware and observant. I'm never complacent. I want more; to know more, do more, have more, experience more, feel more. I keep my eyes wide open and absorb all I can so when that opportunity is presented, I don't walk on by.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Can't start already

It's January 9th. Nine lousy days into the new year and I've already managed to complain about things. It's too early to be down in the dumps. Some people may say that there's only one way to go when you're feeling down, but I don't want to be down to go up. I want to be up and stay there. I want to feel good. I don't even think that I feel down because the things that happened in the last nine days are truly so awful. I think it is because I had such high hopes and I entered the new year with everything I wanted surrounding me. The speed at which things changed left me reeling. Plus it wasn't very clear cut, was it? Ups and downs and lots of unsure moments.

It wasn't until less than 48 hours ago that things were decided for sure. Granted, the decision was not what I was hoping for and did not restore me to the euphoric mood I was in as 2011 swooped in, but it was a decision nonetheless. Limbo is the worst place for me to be. I can handle good news or bad news, but dangling in the middle is just torturous for me. I don't like the decision. I think it sucks and I don't agree with it. However, "ours is not to make reply, ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die." Sometimes we have no choice but go along with it.

It's January 9th. I'm healthy, I love my job, my Jets won the first playoff game last night, I have some of the most wonderful family and friends a guy could hope for. Life could be worse. In no time at all (in the scheme of things) this wound will scab over and no longer sting. Eventually it'll scar, not like some of the major catastrophes in life, but it'll leave a mark anyway.

The point is that it'll all be fine. It sucks now but I have 356 more days in 2011. That is a long way to go and I'll be damned if I'm gonna set the tone for the whole year by starting off miserable. I've lost but I'll recover. As has been said before - "Life's challenges only strengthen me."

So this year I have a list of priorities and things to do that are productive and helpful.
1 - My job - that I absolutely love
2 - Work on that college degree (I'll be within 3-4 classes by the end of 2011)
3 - articles and videos
4 -
5 - Bringing back to life

That is where my focus will be. Romance... maybe one day, but for now I have enough that needs to get done, not to mention all the other silly pipe dreams that'll pop into my head and distract me. I think this year will be MY year and that means no sharing for a while. Focused, driven, directed energy and purposeful decisions. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 07, 2011

5 days of cliches

I recently wrote about potential and shortly thereafter about learning to fish. Both of those revolved around a single situation. The post about learning to fish was nonsensical. It was early worry on my part. It resolved itself nearly by the time the post went live. The post about potential, however, really had something to it. There was SO much of that potential there. Not dissimilar to when that first ray of light breaks through the clouds on an overcast day and suddenly the rest bursts through right behind it, we had our overcast day followed by sunshine. Maybe we were counting our chickens before they hatched.

I had planned to take a short trip to New Jersey for Christmas, but as luck would have it a dumping of snow precluded my on time departure. This created a gap in time from when I was supposed to be home and when I actually got home, leaving no smiles in Mississippi but worry and waiting and anxiety. When I arrived on Thursday evening I was met with an ear to ear grin, a hug that nearly squeezed the breath out of me and a request to pinch her just to verify I was actually there. By the next afternoon, she was sure I as in the flesh and we realized that the rules of tags and names and titles were stupid. We missed each other, we were happy, we should legitimately be together. And so we were - starting the new year off together happier than either of us have been in quite some time. We, effectively, put all of our eggs in one proverbial basket.

We spent all weekend together, making plans for events from dinners with friends to a ridiculous trip to the Kentucky Derby. Hugs, kisses, laughs, fun, jokes, smiles and genuine messages of happiness and contentment sent through the eyes were par for the course all weekend. Even actual exchanges of reassurance that this was all ok with both had been whispered throughout the weekend. As they say, it takes two to tango.

Monday arrived and something was clearly amiss. I chalked it up to a long weekend that was quickly finding its way to a conclusion and the return to the daily grind. Maybe the stressors of getting back into a routine played a part as well and promptly dismissed any issue, backed by evidence that "we" were well, as shown by overt affection and genuine happiness. We were in, what we were calling, "our bubble." The outside world did not matter while we were in our bubble. Our bubble was so exclusive that it was, briefly, to the detriment of the feelings of our friends. But we were new and excited and even spoke about how we liked our bubble and knew it would end, despite how badly we wished it wouldn't. However, we would make every effort to hang onto our bubble as long as we could.

Then some things happened, as things often do. Reality struck. We were dating or seeing each other and then suddenly we were together. We were a couple in a relationship, complete with pet names and a near 96 hour streak in each other's company. The suddenness was swiftly followed by a feeling of entrapment and panic, which, in turn, created a fight or flight reaction. She chose flight.

I now sit before you in limbo. We are somewhere between something and nothing. I'm hoping to land on the former when the Yo-Yo action slows down. What needs to be decided is when things will get back to normal, but more importantly, IF things will get back to normal.

So there is my current iteration of the ebb and flow of relationships; the yin and yang of happiness and heartbreak. There is my tale of 5 days of cliches.