For Unlucky People Like Me, A Guide To Luck


I don’t bother entering contests because I know I won’t win them.

I try not to get too excited when something really good happens because I know it’s not going to last.

I plan trips and make plans fully expecting that they will never come to fruition, so I’m less surprised when they don’t.

I have butterfingers when it comes to holding on to good things. Sometimes I sabotage and doubt myself until I ruin whatever good thing I was rarely and briefly blessed enough to have. Sometimes I clasp my hands together and look at the sky and thank my lucky stars and hang on for dear life to a good thing, cling to it with every fiber of my being, hinge my entire existence and happiness upon it, and end up losing it anyway.

I’ve always considered myself unlucky, but my mom told me once that you make your own luck. When I heard that I thought, well, that can’t be true, because I’m trying really hard here to be lucky, and no matter what I do I’m always going against the grain.

I was unlucky enough to be born to a father who has struggled with addiction and mental illness throughout my entire life and has been unemployed for the better part of ten years. I was unlucky enough to leave for college without a penny to put towards my education. I was unlucky enough to inherit some of my father’s genes that make it hard to cope with day-to-day existence, and make creating any kind of lasting happiness for myself a seemingly insurmountable challenge.

For every brief period of my life when I considered myself lucky, something bad has always, without fail, come to sweep away the good and bring me right back to where I started: feeling alone, unloved, and unlucky.

Here is the truth about luck:

Shitty things happen to good people.

Good things happen to shitty people.

Shitty things happen to shitty people.

Good things happen to good people.

Life is the result of how you react to the good and bad things that happen to you, and the good and bad things that happen to you are the result of a divine randomness that I don’t think anyone really understands. We’re all caught in the cross-hairs of some event or another, and events are triggered by millions of different factors intersecting at a single point.

People, for instance, sometimes intersect. People enter and exit our lives at random, by chance encounters, or through ties that we can’t control.

Life would be so much easier if we could recognize on sight the people who come into our lives only to cause us pain. I’ve met people who I thought I was lucky to have met, and I thought about the impossible odds of meeting someone who means so much to you and affects your life in such a profound way. I was recently in a relationship where every single day I heard the words, “How did I get so lucky?” and, for the first time in my life, I felt lucky too. But sometimes the person you felt luckiest to know and love can turn out to be the unluckiest thing to ever happen to you, and a week later they’re saying “How did I get so lucky?” to a different girl. Who wears fake eyelashes.

But you can always take something away from every random event, every encounter, every random intersection, whether you were given something or felt like you were robbed of something. There’s always more people to meet, more things to learn, and more to experience. Beyond whatever pain I’ve felt at any given time, I’ve come to realize that for whatever lack of luck I’ve had, there are a million more reasons to feel lucky. For every day I’ve hated myself and for every person who has treated me badly without any repercussions, I’ve been gifted with a hundred more blessings.

So many events in our lives are completely out of our control, and by focusing on the things that I can change and improve, I’ve been able to develop a greater appreciation for the many, many things I’m lucky to have.

You make your own luck in the sense that luck is what you’re grateful for. Don’t let the blessings going unnoticed.

I’m lucky to have family and friends that love me and have supported me through the times when I felt like I was drowning. I’m lucky to have been born with nice eyebrows. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to go to the best school in the entire universe (Penn State duh), and to have met so many wonderful people there. I’ve met plenty of terrible people there too, but when you take away the people I was unlucky to have met, I’m left with a whole lot of people to be grateful for.

I’m lucky to have been given the opportunity to change and to grow and to broaden my horizons and force open doors that I previously thought were closed to me. A whole lot of events combined to trigger my decision to enlist in the Army, which happened when I felt my unluckiest, and ever since I did I’ve realized that I’m extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to change my situation, to better myself, and to have a whole new set of experiences unlike anything I’ve ever dealt with before.

The universe triggers a bunch of pretty unfair events and foists them on people who are often undeserving, but if you count your blessings and focus on the things that you can change, luck will find you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Toshiyuki IMAI

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