It had always seemed to me that luck has a lot to do with how people have the lives that they have. For the majority of my life I felt as though I was unlucky; in every single aspect of my life. I would look at other people and think “why can’t I have a life like theirs?” I would look at other families and long for the love and connection that they shared. I would ride past homes and wish that was my house, where a family full of love was waiting for me. I did not understand what I had done to be stuck in the life that I had. I felt that I was being punished but I was not sure for what. I just did not understand. I was just unlucky; a constant dark cloud full of rain always followed me, and I hated it. If it could go wrong, it would go wrong. I would watch others who appeared to always be happy. I would get angry, and then sad as I watched everyone else live the life that I wanted. How could this be fair? How could life be so great for everyone else? How come I had to live this way?
I dwelled on the fact that I was unlucky. I was overcome with depression as I thought about how much effort it took to live. It hurt to even breathe some days, all because nothing ever went the way that I expected it to. Happy occasions would end with tears or sadness when it was not what I had thought it would be. The excitement would build as I thought about how it “could be”. I thought about the way it was for the people who always smiled. I thought about how it happened on TV. I thought about everything, anticipating that maybe this time it would be my turn for life to go as I thought. For once it was going to be my turn to smile and be happy. Time after time, my time never came. A happy event would end as the next dive into depression began.
I was seen as the “Eeyore” amongst my family and friends. I saw the glass as half empty; at times I saw it as completely empty. I held my head low, hid behind my hair and did all I could to not stand out. Life was hard enough without calling attention to myself. I was pessimistic, gloomy, dark, depressing, melancholy, blue, and just plain miserable. I lived everyday thinking negative thoughts. I knew deep in my heart that I was destined to be doomed. Forever. What did I have to give the world when the world had nothing but problems to give to me?
Every single thing in life let me down. Every single person let me down or hurt me in one way or another; with exception to my maternal grandmother. In a world like this, it was easy to see how negativity could take over everything. I became a slave to the negative thoughts, thinking that I was unworthy of anything “normal” or “good”. I just accepted that this was how my life was going to be. Life is not fair; that was a thought that repeatedly came as one more thing would happen. One more bad day; one more awful person; one more painful experience. I was vulnerable and I was open to the pain because I was always searching for that one chance at changing how it was going to be. Little did I know then that everything that ever happened was changing me. The big picture was not completely drawn at that point; it never really is.
With an outlook like that it was no wonder that life continued to go the unlucky way. Looking back I can see how special events never turned out the way I had imagined. If I dwelled there, in those moments I can see how more and more of my life would be the same. I am not sure of the exact turning point where this changed for me, but I slowly began looking at life differently. I started taking the power away from the negativity and I started to look for the benefit from each situation. Was there a lesson that I needed to learn? Was there something better waiting for me? Changing these thoughts helped change my life.
Thoughts like this were not productive. Thoughts like this took time away from enjoying the good times or even acknowledging that there were good times. There was no way that I could have been brought into this world to live this way. There was just no way that this was my life; this was not the road map I was meant to follow. It took a long time to see that there were other routes in life; that just because I was on this road did not mean that I was stuck there. Realizing this was life changing. It did not come to me suddenly; but as with everything in my life it started building slowly and one day I saw it; I saw the light in the distance from my darkness. I would not have to live this life any longer. And I chose not to. Life is all in the perspective. You can look at life any way you want to and interpret it any way you chose; ultimately the choice is yours.
Beginning to believe that I was worth the change was a very hard process. So many years of darkness kept bringing me back to the old space that was my life. Darkness can have a hold so strong that it is hard to fight back. It is easier to give up and just let what is comfortable happen. Comfort is not always good. Sometimes comfort is toxic. Sometimes comfort is abusive. Sometimes comfort is lethal. And sometimes it is wonderful. It is a balancing act going between lethal and wonderful is mesmerizingly exhausting. Like Alice in Wonderland there is mystery behind every corner, not knowing who to trust and what to believe. Our minds are good at telling us stories. We just have to become better at rewriting the story that gets told to us in our quietest times. It is in those moments that make up how we see ourselves. It is in those moments that we have the chance to change how we fit into our world.
Every day is a struggle; believing that the unknown will be okay and that we are strong enough to get through anything that comes our way. Trusting that what happens is what is meant to happen. To learn how to walk away feeling joy and not feeling let down when perfection does not come. Learning that perfection is only what we make it; our own perspective. If you expect everything to be flawless you miss out on what really is happening. In reality perfect is not obtainable, you just learn what your perfect is.
Luck is an illusion. Learning this helped change my expectations. Understanding that I am not the only person that has felt consumed by bad days and gray clouds was the first step at understanding that it is not always as it appears. On the surface it may look like everyone else has all that they need or that they are loved and feel safe, but you really never know what another person is feeling or thinking. To an outsider it may appear to be just right; but to the person that it matters most to, it may be all wrong. Terribly wrong.
An outsider may think that my life was perfect. They may have thought that I had everything that I needed. They may have thought that I was loved by many. They may have thought that we were happy kids. But they were wrong. Most of the time what we think about another person or situation is wrong. Jealousy gets in the way and we start wishing that our life were like theirs or wish that we had what others have. Jealousy comes with a price; the price of peace; the price of happiness.
Luck is merely what you make of it. Maybe I did have all that I needed. Maybe I was loved enough. Maybe I just wanted too much. When I stopped looking at what others had and focused on what I had life began to change. I do not call that luck. I call that life experience. When you learn about others and see that there are people who have nothing and are the happiest people you have met while others have what you consider everything and they live lives of despair. Luck is knowing that happiness matters. Luck is knowing that something is better than nothing. My nothing is someone else’s something.
Maybe I did not have the best of everything. Maybe my life was not a fairytale. Maybe I had more than my share of hardships. I learned to stop questioning it and learned to start being grateful for what I did have. Finding the light within the dark spots was my luck. My luck came when I understood the value of my experiences. No one could take away from me what I went through and what it taught me. What happened to me is something that I will own forever. Everything thing that I saw as a hardship before is now seen as a lesson. Life has been my greatest teacher, and understanding that is what I consider lucky.