Denise & RedI guess you could say I was born lucky.  I haven’t always allowed myself to feel that way, because what I wanted, and what I was willing to do to get what I wanted, has rarely ever resulted in getting what I thought I couldn’t live without.   I had a whole different plan for my life, and its taken close to thirty years to make peace with the fact that things just didn’t work out the way I had  hoped.   Sometimes things turned out better than I could have ever imagined.  Sometimes they just turned out the way they turned out.

I had a series epiphanies at the end of last year that completely changed the way I look at life, and what constitutes luck, success, contentment, and happiness.  It started with a journal I found in my studio on December 31, 2012, that I wrote in 2009.  I’ve kept a journal on and off for the past 13 years, and what struck me about this particular piece of writing, is that it said the exact same things that the journals before and after had said.  I’ve been examining (or more precisely, lamenting) the same topics, in the same way, and expecting different results, for thirteen years.  It’s the textbook definition of insanity, and while I will be the first to admit that I am not the most balanced person in the room on occasion, I’m fairly certain that I am not crazy.  At least, that’s what the voices in my head keep telling me!

In the past six months I’ve broken my ankle, lost my job,  got turned down for unemployment, got a winter cold and an early outbreak of poison ivy, spent more money on the only art show I’ve gotten into in the past two years than I made, and this past week,  an emergency appendectomy, all with no insurance, and no source of  income. It sounds tragic,  I know, and I have had more than one person express concern over my “bad luck”, even to the point of asking me why I am creating (or contributing to) the series of misfortunes in my life.

But I am not a victim, and I don’t see any of this as bad luck or bad karma.  I am 53 years old, and the last time I was in the hospital as a patient was when I was born. When I broke my ankle, and then, when my appendix developed gangrene and was about to burst, I had a fleet of nurses and doctors ask my health history repeatedly, as though no one before thought to ask if I’d ever been in the hospital before.  I am extremely healthy and always have been, which surprised everyone  I came in contact with.

I got incredibly lucky with the doctors who operated on me (both are the best in their fields),  I had amazing nurses, kind friends who helped take care of me, cheer me up, or check in on me.  I “lost” a job I hated anyway, and found my way back to what I truly loved in the process. I found my voice as a writer,  re-discovered my passion for art, dedicated myself to finding enjoyment in what my life is (instead of what it is not) learned to stop complaining about money (I have never starved, and I have always found the money I needed to pay my bills anyway, so what was the point of wringing my hands over what I wanted, when I had what I needed?), and decided to let life be whatever it is.  Because I think the past few months have been an exercise in getting rid of, or letting go of some crap I have chosen to hold on to, stuff that didn’t serve me well anymore (if it ever really did to begin with), in order to pave the way for new beginnings and new adventures.

The past few months made me realize that I have always had a pretty awesome life, and just because I made some choices that were different than the choices other people I consider “successful” have made, doesn’t mean those choices were wrong, or that I was wrong for making them in the first place.   Maybe I will I get where I want to be someday, and maybe I won’t, but it doesn’t really matter anymore, because  I am the luckiest person in the world.  And the nice thing is, I know it….