On luck, and making your own.


(note that the clover is three and not four)

We’ve kind of had a string of unfortunate events around here. We had to get the roof fixed (at an astronomical cost), to find out the rafters were rotted (adding to astronomical cost). I made a poor furniture moving decision and my right wrist was completely out of commission for a week, which is a huge issue when you have a computer job as well as a 25 pound toddler who isn’t docile about diaper changes. Things at work have been less than fantastic, my purse got stolen, necessitating a huge hassle of getting new ID and rekeying the car and house, etc etc.

All of this has led me to think about luck. People have always told me that I’m naturally lucky. And generally speaking, things do tend to turn out the way I want them to. How much of that is luck and how much of that has its basis in personality traits?

So how does this run of bad luck play into all of this? How have I managed to keep from having a ‘my luck is so bad’ breakdown? I tend to reframe a lot…the thief took my purse, but we managed to get our locks changed before they used the housekeys. I had enough ID in a different location to replace my ID and the baby’s ID. We paid a zillion dollars for our new roof, but it was in time for the CRAZY torrential rain that we’re getting right now, so we prevented a house leak, which would have been disasterous and far more financially damaging. My wrist was functional again after a week of not being able to use it AT ALL (which was maddening), but I managed through a combination of daycare and help from family and friends. SO yeah. All about the silver linings over here.

I’m of the opinion that luck is preparation meeting opportunity. Opportunity often knocks softly, so I take a lot of calculated risks, and I’m always looking for new and interesting things. I’ll throw an application in for a job that I don’t have all of the exact qualifications for, just in case they end up needed to go a little further afield. I enter every contest I see – someone has to be the winner, and at least I’m in the running. I volunteer to help in random situations, have a variety of weird hobbies, and am very good at staying in touch.  I’m always open to meeting new people and making new friends. This is both endearing and maddening, depending on your viewpoint. I ‘adopt’ people who are new in town and introduce them to my friends, because I’ve been in places where I knew noone, and know how much a friendly face to contact ‘just in case’ is worth. I’ve also, however, been known to bring a random new person I met on Skytrain to a birthday party at a pub, which might verge on the slightly weird. I meet a lot of people and keep in touch , so have a larger social circle than most. This, in turn, means that when I post about looking for something or wanting to get in touch with someone in a given field, a much bigger and more varied batch of people respond, and I tend to find a way to acheive my outcome  How much of that is ‘luck’ and how much of it is personality and knowing a lot of folks?


I do win. A LOT. But I enter 70 contests a day, every day. So with an average of 2100 contests a month, it seems realistic that I would win fairly often. Is that actual luck, or just opening myself up to lots of opportunities for luck?

Genuinely going into a situation expecting the best result has also always been something I do…and I think that because I tend to be pretty open minded going in, I don’t start out defensive and negative, which has better results. There’s an old proverb somewhere about how you get the behaviour you expect. I expect good things and tend to get them, but whether that’s due to my expectations or not is hard to quantify.

And then there are lucky charms…

I don’t have one in particular, but research has shown that lucky charms do work, in a placebo kind of way. Believing that you’re lucky (due to your four leaf clover or what-have-you) makes you happier and more optimistic, which makes you more aware of new possibilities and more likely to act on information when you come across it. So while that stuffed bunny may not be lucky in and of itself, it could genuinely cause you to have better results.

In a completely and delightfully ego-centric way, I also consider the new year beginning on my birthday…so in my world, the year resets at the end of June. And a brand new year is going to be lucky!

In summary:

*believe that the outcome will be how you want it

*meet lots of people and have a large social network

*do what you can to help other people, just because it’s a nice thing to do.

*find the positive, even if it takes some looking

*say yes instead of no every once in awhile … it can lead you to some interesting places.

*open yourself to opportunities

What’s your take on luck, readers? Are some people just ‘luckier’ than others, or do they have personality traits or habits that make things go their way?


Some interesting articles about luck:







Concerts – then and now.

Temptations 1

You end up having realizations in the oddest places and times. I found myself sitting in a crowd of much older concert goers, looking forward to seeing the Temptations. The actual Temptations, circa 1960, of ‘My Girl’ and ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’ fame (although only one of the original Temptations remains in the group).

The concert itself was fantastic – for being 60-some-odd, those guys can MOVE. Loved the sparkly jackets, loved the energy…and it got me to thinking about the differences in performances from old-time stars versus the newer crowd of music groups.

A couple of positive observations on an old school performance…

1) The show started on time. At 8pm. On the dot. Which I loved – concerts that start at 7 and the main event doesn’t come on until 9 are incredibly irritating. Being punctual is respectful to your fans, and makes for a less annoyed audience.

2) There was a full band, in formalwear. It lent a certain elegance to the show that a lot of current performers lack.

Temptations band

3) It was in a smaller venue, the River Rock Show Theatre.  There was a sense of closeness and being part of something that is harder to emulate in a huge arena such as BC Place. We had fourth row tickets, which put us right in the action, but even shows I’ve seen in seats that are towards the back have great acoustics and views.

4) The energy! The Temptations *love* what they do, and it shows! They’re there for love of the music and love of sharing their own love, and it comes across. When I went to a Britney Spears concert, I found myself restless and disinterested – she seemed bored, and so the audience didn’t engage with her. These guys are ON, from start to finish, sparkly coats, dancing, and taking turns sharing the spotlight.

5) They finished with their biggest hit (‘My Girl’), left the audience dancing in their seats, bowed, and were gone. There was no sitting around waiting until enough noise had been made for the star to come on and deign to do an encore. I loved that they gave their all, and left everyone happy.

Temptations bowing

Somehow, even without the wacky special effects, with no cars coming from the roof of the stadium or costume changes, with no glitter or confetti, they gave an amazing performance that I’ll remember as an epic moment.  The power of talent and enthusiasm won, hands down, over the glitzy costume changes and huge crowds of a modern group. I’ll take an old school show at the River Rock over the latest star at BC Place – no question! Now if only Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons hadn’t been sold out…(SIGH).

The scourge of migraines.

headacheWhen I was younger, I used to what if with the ‘rather’ game, for things that I would love to do but appeared impossible.  Would I rather go to France or Greece? Beautiful or brilliant? Would I rather have perfect vision or no migraines? Upon reflection of the latter, I think I would rather have no migraines and retain my (admittedly crummy) vision.

People who don’t get migraines think of them as ‘just headaches’ but a little more severe. Something where you can pop an Advil or two and then resume your regularly scheduled activities. Everyone gets headaches…but not everyone gets migraines.

A migraine starts out with an aura period, which differs for everyone, but for me is heightened sensory awareness (and NOT in a good way!). Bright lights are painfully bright, and I’ll often have to wear my sunglasses in the house. Loud sharp sounds are excruciating and almost like a physical blow (this also explains my deep and abiding dislike for small yappy dogs). My face gets really hot and my hands and feet go icy. I get incredibly nauseous, and one side of my head starts to throb. Hard. Which side it is varies, but if you could split it in half, I envision half of my head as normal and the other half as a red, angry, throbbing painful mess.

Prior to the wonder of beta-blocking medication, I would curl up in the darkest place I could find, with a cold wet washcloth on my forehead, and alternately shake and throw up for the next eight hours. One of my apartments had stark, glowing white walls from top to bottom. I used to sit in the bathtub on a sleeping bag because it was the only pitch black spot. I used to call it my Batcave. Eventually, I would fall asleep and wake up exhausted, weak and shaky, seven or eight hours later.

I’ve had them ever since I was little – I remember being three or four and curled up in a ball, wishing I could just chop off that side of my head because the other one was fine. And this would be a regular process, once or twice a week, practically every week.

What causes them? Triggers vary from person to person. Mine include too much caffeine, too little caffeine (yes, I *do* see the irony), too much sugar, skipping meals, weather changes, hormonal fluctuations, eggplant skin (I know. The weird continue), olives, and a variety of other randomness. Some sad folks have triggers which include dark chocolate and red wine. Le sigh.

How do you manage like this? You just do. You keep airplane throw-up bags in the glove compartment so that you can pull over, throw up, and keep driving. You learn that when the aura hits, you have about 45 minutes to finish whatever you’re doing before you get hit by the migraine train. You go out, even though you want to curl up in a hole, because you know that you’ll be in the same state wherever you are, so you may as well be with friends as not. And you get so used to throwing up that you’ll wonder why other people get so upset about it when it happens to them.

Now, the wonders of modern medicine give me a plain, white, $18 pill, which (9 times out of 10) turns it off like water from a tap. I don’t love that I’m dependent on it. I don’t love that there are weeks when I take 3 within four days. But I do love that I can actually make plans and know that I’ll enjoy them.

So a shout out to modern medicine! And for my fellow migraine sufferers – I understand your pain. Literally.

Photo Credit: Avenue G Used under a Creative Commons Licence