Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reverb 14: Lady Luck?

Luck | Is luck what you get?  Or is luck what you make?  When have you been lucky?  When did you create your own fortune?

In the play "Jake's Women," by Neil Simon, there is a character named Edith who is the title character's psychiatrist and a somewhat peppery, pull-no-punches one. She tells Jake, "We create our own destiny. There are always options."

Ever since I got to play Edith long ago in Birmingham, Ala., I have pretty much lived by that line, and more than once I have actively pursued an outcome that I wanted -- and succeeded in attaining it, although I will say that few things ever happen EXACTLY as you envision them. There always seem to be a few curves thrown in just because the Universe likes to watch.

Like Edith, I believe luck is what you make -- although that does not explain why some people seem to be able to walk into a casino, for instance, and walk out many dollars ahead, time after time. (I make an annual $20 donation to whatever tribe has the casino, it seems, and very rarely have I walked away with more than I left there.)

Luck is having the courage to walk through an open door that appears after you've already done a lot of excavation and exploration. Luck is risking your current rut, comfortable or not, for something that seems like it will work better for you at that time. Luck is making a phone call or applying for a job or going to a meeting where you know nobody, and finding that your life has changed in ways you would never have imagined.

Luck is not random, except in Bunco or, perhaps, in gambling games of chance. Then we call it luck, but there is nothing calculated or planned about it.

When I realized at almost age 50 that I did not want to look back at the end of my life and wonder 'what if...', I began to build a new life: I picked where I 'knew' I needed to be: California, near the ocean --and then began to work actively to make that move happen. I solicited advice and help from practically anyone in my company who might be able to help me do that, and eventually it paid off with a job offer in one of the San Francisco branches. There were glitches and heartaches and scary moments along the way, but I moved more than halfway across the country because I knew I had to do this.

Had I been told at that time, some 17 years ago, I would eventually live in a rural northern California community with the great love of my life (and a bunch of spoiled kitties)  in a house we designed and had built, I would have snorted in amusement. And total disbelief.

Yet here I am.

I created my own destiny, and was blessed to find someone (taking that risk of walking into something unknown) who also believed in creating his own destiny. We visualized what we wanted, and we worked hard to make it happen.

Until we get to the very end of our lives, until we are drawing our last breath, we can always create our own destiny....we always have options....Options. Thank you, Edith.

I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.
~ Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)

No comments: