Luck is a Matter of Perception

As I’m thinking of the events of the week all I can come to is this: luck is a matter of perception.  I came to this conclusion because I’m sick of arguing with myself.  I was trying to decide if nature loves me or hates me.

It all started Sunday night when a very short but violent storm came through.  It lasted for 30 minutes tops.  We had sunshine then a sudden burst of thunder, lightning, wind, hail and rain all came down with a vengeance.  Then back to that innocent sunshine. Well almost.  Now tens of thousands of people are without power.  There are huge tree limbs (if not the tree themselves) scattered about.  Sometimes there are power lines scattered among those trees.

I had no power until Monday night and I was one of the lucky ones to get it back that soon.  Some people still do not have power right now.  However, the fourth of July events were canceled due to the damage.  So here is the debate.  Does nature love me or hate me, or without the personification of mother nature, am I lucky or unlucky.

I didn’t have any electricity to my house during one of the worst heat waves of the century (we matched a 101 year old record here in Chicago today).  The single yearly event I actually host was canceled.  My house is tiny and not great for hosting but the 4th of July is celebrated outside and I live close enough to easily walk to the fireworks.  This is not a sign of good luck to me: no power, no AC, dangerous heat wave, and no celebration.

But, my house wasn’t damaged, none of my trees were damaged, the storm ended in time to have lunch with my parents on Sunday, I did get power back, and I didn’t have to do all that cleaning and clean up that comes with hosting anything.  Yes it was bad but it could have been so much worse.  Now I feel that I do in fact have good luck.

Just as I am deciding this I finally venture out to my kitchen to find something to eat, and there are wasps all over my kitchen window.  There was one I knew about that I thought had died (there was a dead wasp on the window sill), but where did these extra 5+ wasps suddenly come from??  I have no idea but let me tell you I was very very disturbed.  I’m seeing hundreds of wasp stings and visits to the emergency room in my future.  No, I am not lucky at all and nature does hate me.

I take a moment of self pity and then look up how to get rid of wasps inside the house.  Someone mentions a vacuum.  I can do that.  I dress in many layers of clothes, cover as much skin as possible and have my escape route planned should the worse happen.  Wow do I feel silly.  These are paper wasps and they don’t even try to escape their fate.  There is no attack.  They don’t even leave the window.  They just peacefully sit there and let themselves get sucked right up.

See how lucky I am?  If those had been yellow jackets I may just have had to consider that trip to the emergency room.  Once again see where the perception comes in?  Having an invasion of wasps is never a sign of good luck but it could have been much worse.

This long argument in my head leads me back to this conclusion.  Nobody is really lucky or unlucky.  It’s all a matter of perception.  It’s the glass half empty or half full.  Right now I’m feeling pretty lucky because I know how much worse the storm or those wasps could have been.  Yet I would have been far luckier to avoid both these things altogether.  Since I want to shut my brain down I will just say I am lucky or unlucky depending on the point of view I choose to take at any given moment.

I hope the rest of you had a great 4th of July =)


  1. This is so true. I try to keep a positive attitude also. Whenever my really old car needs repairs, I figure I’m lucky if it’s under $500. So far, I’ve been lucky twice in the last 6 weeks!

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