by Christine Kling
I’ve been seeing this word “luck” again and again recently – and used by people who don’t seem to be all that lucky. In C.E.’s post yesterday, she described a multitude of natural disasters from 100-year storms to earthquakes to killer trees, and yet she said she feels lucky. If you have been watching the coverage of Super Storm Sandy, you’ve seen the people standing next to a pile of rubble that used to be their home, and yet they describe themselves as lucky because their families escaped uninjured. Alice Seybold titled her 2002 memoir Lucky about the brutal rape and beating she endured as an 18-year-old college freshman. Michael J. Fox wrote his memoir about learning to live with Parkinson’s Disease and titled it Lucky Man. Even Google asks us if we’re feeling lucky each time we search for something on the Internet.
According to Wikipedia, there are two ways of looking at this concept of luck: one is prescriptive meaning that there is some force in the universe, either fate, karma or some supernatural power that can make one lucky, and the other is descriptive, when people say after the fact that this event that was out of their control was either lucky or unlucky.
A British psychologist Richard Wiseman proposed in his book The Luck Factor that having good luck is something that can be learned as explained in the article I’ve linked to. He noted that lucky people tend to see the best in every situation, and they remain flexible and open to new ideas. It’s clear to me that people like C.E. will always be lucky because of how they see the world.
Tonight I spoke at the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club and I showed slides with my talk. I titled my talk “30 Years of Sailing in 30 Minutes” because I know how much people want to go home on a work night. I said in the beginning of my talk that I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people in the world. I get to write these stories I love, and I get to do lots of sailing. But it’s not just sailing. On Saturday, I am taking off on a trip that will take me to Thailand and the Philippines. I will be gone for 5 weeks doing research on my next book. I’m just taking a backpack and a couple of Lonely Planet guide books and I’m off to have an adventure like Riley would.
This will be my second trip to Thailand. In 2009, I flew to Bangkok after my mother had a stroke while traveling, and though her condition was frustrating and sad, I still feel lucky to have had the chance to visit Thailand. I fell in love with the country and her people and decided then that I would set my next book there. Many Thai people are Buddhist and while Buddha taught against the idea of luck, Thai people will give offerings to monks and ask for a blessing to bring them luck.
Part of me is a little bit frightened by this trip. I will be very far from home and all alone. I fear getting sick most of all. But to me, fear of the unknown is part of what makes it thrilling. And besides, I know I’m pretty damn lucky.
Share on Facebook