August 17, 2011

Do you have the 3 kinds of luck?

What’s so lucky about it?

“You’re so lucky that you get to do that”


This low-hanging fruit of a phrase has turned up quite often this summer.  Not wanting to wipe the eager grin or sometimes even a cloudy gaze off the fruit pickers face, I usually respond with a “yes, I am very…lucky.”

About mid-July this summer, one of my parents’ friends’ sons committed suicide.  I had only met the young man a few times, but I had just had a conversation with his mother about him a few weeks before while I was visiting home in Santa Fe.  Her worried gaze and eagerness for answers was fresh on my mind when my mother told me he had taken his own life.

I collapsed with confusion.

The past two years have been filled with amazing opportunities, adventures, and lots of hard work that I am proud and still stunned paid off.  This summer we’ve been traveling all over the West sharing my first film in an unconventional way, and it’s worked.  It’s working. I am doing exactly what I love, and I do it every single day.  What luck, eh?

Luck has nothing and everything to do with it.

I feel like the word “luck” holds a pretty specific meaning to most people.  If you go to gamble and you get lucky, you win.  It’s as if this good fortune has fallen into your lap.  You can imagine why associating this kind of “luck” with the 16 hour working days and the literal blood, sweat, and tears associated with making your own independent film would make me cringe.

It’s like telling a Olympic athlete that they were lucky they got the gold or telling a hardworking farmer that they were lucky they got a harvest. Yes…and a big, resounding NO.

It’s not to say that luck is not a part of all this, though. It’s just a different kind.  Well, three kinds actually.

The first two are pretty straight forward.

The Luck of Circumstance.

Yes, I am a 25 year old woman living in the States and I am able to own my own business and take a shot at living “the American Dream.”  The sheer luck of that is a biggie.  I am constantly reminded that this life would not happen in many other parts of the world.  I not only feel overwhelmingly thankful, but I feel, yes, lucky to have this opportunity.  But I will also add that most of the people telling me I am so lucky have the exact same opportunities before them—which leads me to the next kind of luck.

The Luck of going beyond Fear.

Another phrase I hear all the time is

“I could never do that.”

Holding back the urge to not dump dazed heads in freezing cold water to snap this total lack of awareness into reality, I usually respond with as much encouraging gumption as possible “Yes you can!”  …When I know that this little nugget of positivity can only get someone so far.  The sad truth is that “I could never do that” can not be solved by the sheer fact of “yes you can.”  There is something much deeper there that is holding us back.  Fear of the unknown and failure is such an invisible force that suffocates our inner child and binds our outer superhero and I am so thankful and lucky that I am able to recognize that fear and have the sheer ambition and need to want to ride it like a wild 70 foot jellyfish.

The third and final luck is something I realized after our family friend took his life. I have always been dumbfounded by suicide. Depression is something that runs in my family and that numb feeling has immobilized me before, but trying to understand his pain, and coming to that point of no return, had me evaluating my own life and being thankful for something completely new.

The Luck of being alive.

The fact is that this amazing adventure Sarah and I took on this summer could have been done by anyone. We set the wheels in motion, we put in the hard work, and it paid off.  But the gratification has not come from the simple fact of making it work, and “getting to” travel and meet people all across the West.  The reason we feel lucky resides in something that is so subtle and yet grippingly strong.

I feel overwhelmingly lucky to able to cherish moments. From the subtle wind on my face to grazing my hand over the cool aluminum of my beautiful home to stopping to surround my world with the deep history behind the smell of a rose—I am lucky to be alive.

From being able to experience the sensations of shocking cold salt water to feeling the invisible embrace of a mobile community, these are the things I feel lucky about.  I can feel these things.

Because it’s not just about “being” but feeling alive.

Before I understood these intense feelings about the suicide, I wrote this the day I found out that Guy had taken his life:

We walk head on into the blasting waves hoping we’ll feel the wild embrace our fingers and the salt wrap around our sun kissed cheeks. With the sea glistening on our faces between the well earned wrinkles, the salt water drips from the lips of the smiles we cherish. 


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