Fickle Lady Luck: what is luck, and can we change it?

I fear happiness and stability just as much as I crave it.

My childhood was filled with poverty and unrest, and my college years were full of abuse and misfortune. All I knew for the first 25 years of life was disappointment and bad luck, and that’s what I came to believe that life would always be like for me. Except, the last few years have actually been fine.

There’s a theory about luck.

According to their theory, everyone is born with good luck and bad luck. Once you use up all of one, you are only left with the other. Everyone has different amounts of fortune and misfortune, but everyone can also run through all of one or the other. According to my friend, that’s what happened to me; I used up all my bad luck. Now, I am only left with the good.

I’m not sure I believe in all that.

Luck is real enough. There’s too many circumstances, good and bad, that are out of our control. What else can we call those happenstances but “luck”? But I also believe that luck can be manipulated to a degree. Just like you can use statistical probability to increase your chances of winning while gambling, you can increase the chances of good things happening to you through hard work, a good attitude, and strategy. But the deck will always be stacked, sometimes in your favor, and sometimes against you. All you can do is play your hand.

I worked hard to count my cards.

I did all I could to get through school, get a good job, and excel in my career. I worked extra hours and saved my pennies to stay out of debt and build an emergency fund. I studied hard in school and continued to study after graduation to build my skill set and expertise. I built a network from scratch and sought out opportunities for growth, and used every single small advantage I had to succeed. In short, I did everything I could to change my luck. But can luck really change?

Luck is a fickle mistress.

Lady Luck is known to give as much as she takes, and change her mind as the wind blows. I am careful to never rely on luck to get by, but I accept her help whenever it is offered. I don’t believe that destiny is predetermined, but I am still careful not to tempt fate. In a universe where there is so much we can’t control or hope to understand, there is a strange comfort in saying in letting go. Sometimes, after we’ve done all we can, are left to rely on a game of chance.

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