Saturday, August 8, 2009

Awake and dreaming

I've always considered myself to have pretty strange luck. I'm very lucky at some things (avoiding being killed, getting unlikely chances to do things) and awful at others (women, maintaining vehicles and large appliances, keeping homes or money).

This was particularly evident the other day when a couple of ugly things happened in a short period of time. On the way home from work, an old guy who was probably lost, backed into me while I was at a stop sign (I saw him coming and fast and very quickly slipped the car into reverse, making what could have been both expensive and possibly deadly into something only aggravating. He scratched the bumper then sped off). Waiting for me at the mail box was yet another rejection letter, which just plain hurt. Then, by the end of the evening, I figured out the washing machine is shot, the fridge is following close behind and the toilet won't be long after that.

None of these are tragedies, but they all suck and kind of made me feel like I'd angered the gods or at least a reality television celebrity. My luck seemed to have run out. I was upset.

But... the right information at the right time. A book I've been reading about survivors talks about luck and the idea that a lot of good and bad luck is the result of things you can control: conditions you set up. In Buddhist terms: seeds of karma blooming.

You can't control everything, not what other people are going to do, but really is it really such a bad thing that I avoided having my car totaled --even if the downside is I didn't get to tell the guy he was a dumb ass for not paying attention? From a pretty reasonable standpoint, it was a lucky break for us both that I reacted like I did. Nobody got hurt and the damage to my vehicle, at least, is barely noticeable.

The washing machine is twelve years old and has been moved half a dozen times. The matching dryer for it died two years ago. Is it really a surprise or bad luck that it's leaking like a sieve? Besides, as much as having to do my entire household's laundry across town seems like an imposition, I don't really mind and it's only temporary.

The toilet is probably as old as the house I live in, which isn't in great shape to begin with. Did I really expect it to last forever? As far as the fridge... eh... It's probably winding down it's lifespan, too.

And what about my book? Well, what does it mean when you get twenty or thirty rejections? Have I been doing all I can to get it published? No. I haven't. I figured that out a short while ago when it was sort of pointed out I might have been doing it wrong in the first place. It's actually been pointed out a couple of times. Have I really sharpened my query letter or synopsis? No. Could I concede the book might not be the best it could be? Yes.

Anyway, again, the right information at the right time. If I want my luck to get better, it helps to put myself in position to have the opportunity for it to get better. My luck isn't so bad. It just needs a little work.

1 comment:

Brendan said...

Thanks for the reminder - it's not what happens to us that counts but how we react to what happens to us. I'm not sure I believe in "luck" though.