[Photo by Irene Dávila]
It seems to me that people are quick to reject the idea that they are lucky - seeing is as a bit of an insult. I understand why - there is the insinuation that it was all a twist of fate that you have ended up where you have, rather than because of any merit or struggle or talent. I don't see it that way - in part because I am incredibly lucky.
That is not to say that I have not and do not work hard. I give my all at my job, I work on side projects like this blog, I studied hard when I had the opportunity (and am still quick to pick up a book). I'm certainly not the hardest worker in the world; parents, carers, people with multiple jobs - the list goes on of people who are giving far more than I am. But I am smart, I work hard and I am nice to people, all of which have contributed to the good job, nice home and happy social life that I currently enjoy.
But I am lucky. So, so lucky. And I'm going to bet that you are, too, in at least some small ways. I am lucky to have been born to loving parents who had the means to support me and who prized education and encouraged creativity. I am lucky to have a high IQ, which I've been allowed to use and develop at good schools and at a good University. I am lucky to have had the luxury of free time to pursue the passions that have lead me to my career (this blog, more than anything else, has definitely got me where I am today). I am lucky that a stranger read this blog and decided to email me, and I am lucky to have fallen in love with him - and I am lucky, too, that he also had the means to support me when I first moved to Leeds. I am lucky to have spotted a tweet with a job advert that seemed like it was made for me - not once, but twice. I am lucky for so many chance encounters that have lead to friendships and opportunities and joy.
I am not an exceptional person. I'm actually quite average, I suppose. I'm not saying that you have to have had a lot of luck to get to where I am, because I am sure there are people with a lot less privileges than I have had who have achieved as much, and likely so much more, than me. You can use your smarts and your creativity and your determination and hard work to overcome a lack of luck, and many people do so. But I don't think that it is an insult to say that someone is lucky. Like so many other things, if you are lucky, as I have been, it is what you do with that luck that really matters. It is up to you to seize the opportunities - however frequent or infrequent - that are presented to you. But to deny the existence of luck? Is to deny all the people and circumstances that gave you a helping hand. It's not a weakness to admit that, I don't think.
In fact, recognising my own luck has made me so much happier. A few years ago I decided that, rather than despairing over all the ways I was hard done by (which were few, I admit), I chose to see and recognise every moment that felt 'lucky'. I guess you would call it serendipity, really. All of those 'fortunate happenstances' that have contributed, in their own small ways, to my wellbeing. Like seeing a tweet with a job advert, just when you're feeling a bit down about your current position. Or even just a friend asking if you want to grab a drink, when what you really need is a glass of wine. Serendipity is everywhere. I don't think that I am lucky because all the best things happen to me (although a lot of lovely things have indeed done so) - but rather because I choose to notice it every time something good happens, and to try to ignore the bad stuff where I can. It's the sister of gratitude, of counting your blessings, I suppose. But I do urge you to try it, to notice the little lucky things that happen every day - when the lights go green just as you're about to pull up, when you get the last cookie in the packet, when you have just enough change for the bus. It starts to feel like you're making your own luck. And what is more lucky than that?