I’d worked hard for something I wanted. I had sacrificed. Made tough choices. Worked long(er) hours. I’d done all the things that people do when they want some seriously big shit to happen.
And–I’d succeeded! I was having a flat-out fantastic day, the kind where months of work were culminating in being supported and loved, more cash in one twenty-four hour period than I’d ever seen, and a flow of thank-you emails. I had given a lot, and I was receiving a lot.
It was a perfect day, the kind that will always be memorable because it was so damned good. I went out to grab a kombucha and played Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” on auto-repeat (and sang aloud, devil-may-care if anyone saw me. Whatevs! Joygasm, baby!).
A few months later, someone asked me about the experience. The high had faded, but the day was still fond in my mind. I told them all about it. They wanted this experience, for themselves.
“I was lucky with how everything came together,” I said, but from the second I said it, I noticed that something in my body reacted to that statement.
It was the sort of statement that I had always casually tossed off, before: “I’m really lucky” or “I got lucky” or “I was lucky that it all worked out.”
I began playing around with it. But…I am just lucky, aren’t I? I thought. So many people suffer due to circumstances that they have no control over. I see so clearly how the challenges that come into their lives could just as easily have befallen mine. Death, illness, car crashes, natural disasters–no one is immune. Isn’t that…just lucky?
There was a strange energy on my chest, over my heart. Sadness, tightness. So I asked that sad tightness: “What do you need me to know? What are you trying to tell me?”
I took a deep breath, and listened. I replayed the conversation I’d had where I’d initially told someone that I was “just lucky.”
Yes, of course. I’m lucky. It’s true. My life’s challenges haven’t buried me. I have a reasonable trust in the support structures I’ve created that I can face future challenges that arise. I have no illusions that I’m immune from the possibility of deep grief that throws a black cloud on everything, illness or car crashes that make taking one simple breath a Herculean effort, or natural disasters that astound and confound with their awesome power.
Yes, and–it hit me that there’s a scarcity in “just being lucky.”
It hit me that I’d first said this because I’d felt afraid of burning too brightly for the person I’d been speaking with.
I was minimizing my work and every choice that I’d made that had supported my success.
I was minimizing the support of all the people who had rallied to help.
I was still wounded by the times when I’d hustled and worked hard, and not seen success, and turned those experiences into personal assaults: I should have worked harder, I should have done it better, I should have should have should have…
We can be so hard on ourselves when we fail. “Just being lucky” is how we are hard on ourselves when we succeed.
Sure, on one level, all of us can look at our lives and see where we are “lucky.”
On another level, though? The level I want to live from?
Radiate from the place of knowing that you did what it takes, that you dared to hope, that you had the courage to face fear, that you and an entire network of people in the world contributed to the fulfillment of your dream.
And if you haven’t tasted the kind of success I’m talking about, radiate in knowing that you’re rocking the journey of it all. It’ll come. And some seriously good stuff is happening right here, right now.
There’s scarcity in “just being lucky,” but there’s abundance in owning what we had the courage to create.
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