Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Reverb 14 · March Prompt · Luck

#reverb14 is an opportunity for participants to reflect throughout 2014. Each month, the Reverb team will post a new prompt. Join and write, or simply join and read.

March Prompt: Luck: Is luck what you get? Or is luck what you make? When have you been lucky? When did you create your own fortune?

Earlier this month, HRH asked me "What does good luck mean?" She has often heard us say this phrase - Husband will say it to me as I'm off to a race, or I'll tell him "good luck" as he heads to one of his soccer games or an important meeting. She'll, as is her norm, copy what we say and wish us "good luck" as well.

But we never really thought to explain what we were saying (or prompting her to say in some cases), which, in hindsight, is a huge disservice to my child (I'll omit the long rant about how children aren't taught what the meaning and/or intent of the Pledge of Allegiance is but rather just to say it blindly), so I took the opportunity to explain what "good luck" means and ran with it.

"We tell someone good luck when we hope that he or she does well at something. So when Dad tells me 'good luck' before I go to a race, he's telling me that he hopes I do well in the race. And when I tell him, I am saying that I hope he does a good job at his soccer game."

She took this wisdom in for a moment, nodded, and ran off to make some paper fans (her newest obsession). But even though she was able to accept the information and move on, I was left thinking about my definition and what "luck" actually is, and, maybe more importantly, whether I believe in "luck" or not.

Certainly doing well at a race is not necessarily a matter of "luck" - if I'm well hydrated, well nourished, well rested, and well trained, I'm more likely to do…well. At my last half marathon in October, I didn't plan well for the heat (even though I had a solid training plan and had been eating and resting very well), and, shockingly enough, even though Husband wished me "good luck," I certainly didn't perform like I was lucky.

But at the same time, I often feel that I am "lucky" in terms of HRH; I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy (little morning sickness, few cravings, no gestational diabetes or other serious pregnancy-related health issues), labor was "normal" (although my contractions were extreme enough to make me vomit multiple times before I even got out of triage), and I was able to deliver naturally (with the assistance of pain killers). HRH was born fully healthy, and she latched on and began breastfeeding in a matter of minutes (and didn't stop for 20 months). I had no issue producing milk. I did everything "right," but I also know that people can do everything "right" and still have emergencies and tragedies during pregnancy, during delivery, and even after delivery. Things go wrong, and since things didn't go wrong for us, I do feel ridiculously lucky and even superstitious about having another (this is not the main reason HRH is an only child, but it did nag at the back of the mind whenever the conversation was had).

So, is "luck" a real thing? I don't know. I guess the best way I can explain how I think about it is doing some algebra (pull up PEMDAS from the dregs of your memory, kids). In the course of training (or anything into which I put time and energy), I create a plan that, in many ways, is like a large algebraic equation. I solve the equation, line by line, until I can tell you that I've solved for X (race day). Variables include miles, time, hydration, etc. But in real life, unlike in the pages of Saxon, some of the variables are completely out of my control, so while I can plan to solve for X, I won't always get the outcome I predict, even if I take all the right steps. 

At the end of the day, if I do my best, I'm a lucky woman.

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