Monday 17 January 2011

As luck would have it.

If I had a quid for every time someone commented on my shit luck throughout 2010, I’d have spent new year on Necker Island.
‘I always thought I was unlucky,’ said a colleague, ‘…until I met you.’
‘Better steer clear of that ladder,’ declared one mate, ‘Your karma’s fucked up enough as it is.’
‘If I didn’t love you so much,’ said another, ‘I’d think twice about being mates with such an unlucky person.’
But, as the kind of idiot who breaks her back on the first day of her getting-over-cancer holiday, such quips aren’t just expected, but entirely justified.

As it was, however, P and I spent new year in Malaysia which, let’s be honest, is still quite the lucky escape.
‘And no falls or hospital visits or broken bones this time?’ asked my neighbour (by which I mean EVERYONE I KNOW) this week.
‘None to speak of,’ I answered. ‘Dare I say I’m pretty much in tact!’
‘See?’ she said, ‘You’re already luckier in 2011 than you were in 2010!’
‘I suppose you could say I am,’ I admitted.
‘You know what, love?’ she added, assuredly, ‘This is going to be your year, I can just feel it.’

I do appreciate people’s this-is-your-year wishes. Each January since The Bullshit, I’ve tended to get a lot of them, and hope that I will for many Januarys to come. But, lovely as they are to hear – and kind as folk are to offer them – I’m not daft enough to let myself believe such it’s-my-year guarantees, in much the same way that you can’t allow yourself to take on board the you’ll-definitely-get-its when you’ve had a job interview, the it’ll-be-okays when you’ve had a biopsy or the of-course-he’ll-call-yous when you’ve lipsticked your telephone number onto a bloke’s forearm. Because, as we all know, luck doesn’t work like that.

Or does it? It’s a funny old concept, is luck. One which I doubt any of us can fully get to the bottom of. But since that’s never stopped my eyes lighting up at the prospect of an impossible task (hello, befriending Dave Grohl while wearing denim hotpants and hatching a plan to reform Led Zep), I’ll crack on regardless. See, as I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion, despite the admittedly unlucky nature of much of my last three years, I’ve nonetheless always thought of myself as a lucky lass. But, as the Necker Island Savings Account testifies, sometimes so many people tell you something that you just can’t help but start to believe it. Hence, in light of the running joke that is Lucky Lisa’s Life, I’ve decided to spend ‘my’ year searching for ways to become luckier – and then write about what I find. Kind of like a university thesis, but one in which I’m infinitely more interested, much less likely to plagiarise, and for which I’ll hopefully require far fewer Ginsters pasties.

A hefty chunk of good fortune is, of course, down to the fate you create: the positive attitude you choose to embrace; the lemons you turn into 7 Up; the gameshow answers that prompt a sudden urge to cough. But that isn’t the kind of luck that I want to learn about. Nope, the fortune I’m interested in is more of the down-and-dirty, dying-seconds-FA-Cup-winner, chips-piled-high-on-a-Vegas-poker-table, lone-survivor-of-a-plane-crash, bumping-into-your-long-lost-twin stuff. I want to find out if it’s possible to make that kind of luck the way you make the luck that gets you a promotion or a successful marriage or a gold medal.

But before you picture me rubbing a rabbit’s foot and casting spells beside a Yoda-like Maharishi in a lucky temple (mind you, if that’s what it takes…), I should state that I’m not intending to change the essence of my karma or the way I think or increase my chi or any of that shite. I don’t want to feel more lucky; I want to be more lucky. This isn’t about belief; it’s about physics. See, I’m a practical kind of girl. And while I accept that many things are down to good fortune, I also believe that good fortune is down to you. Which, you might argue, is the very same bull whose horns I’m intending to cling onto. And given that every luck-based conversation I’m party to these days tends to conclude with a knowing smirk in my direction, I think I’m the girl to do it.

Besides, I’m doing this for you as much as me. (I know, right? I’m all give.) Really I am. You see, I’m not foolish enough to think that, just because I’m one of the few twonks gobby enough to have broadcasted my shit luck to the world, I’m the only one to have had any. I’m acutely aware that into every life a little rain must fall – so consider this your welly-stall at a wet Glastonbury, where all I’m asking in return is your help in the comments below.

What I’d like to do, then, is meet the people, try the things, research the theories, test the methods and live the superstitions that claim to make people more lucky. Perhaps you know of some lucky places to go, lucky people to visit, lucky clothes to wear, lucky charms to buy or lucky courses to take? You might have once read about a lucky spell or lucky potion or lucky ritual. Or maybe you don’t have any interest or faith in luck at all and just think I’m a bit of a lunatic – in which case, good luck to you. But whichever camp you fall into, I’d feel very fortunate indeed to receive any assistance or ideas you might be able offer.

I assure you that it’s not out of greed that this is something I’m keen to look into (I’ll say it again: I might not be perceived as lucky, but it’s certainly something I’ve never considered myself otherwise), but more out of curiosity. My aim isn’t to finish this exercise as The Luckiest Person In The World; simply to know that I’ve done everything possible to stack the odds in my favour. (And anyway, a Google search of ‘the luckiest person in the world’ returned answers including Cher Lloyd, Christopher Biggins and an America’s Next Top Model winner, and I can’t say that’s exactly what I had in mind.) Nope, it’s simply that, whatever the situation, I like to know that I've done everything in my power to help myself. So, y’know – wish me luck.


Anonymous said...

This is not a lucky charm or anything like that but I think it might make you very lucky: Fulfill your ultimate childhood dream... Maybe you have already fulfilled it but if not, this might just be the year to do it. Everybody has a childhood-dream and I for my part have never let go of mine. I still dream of it and I won't let it go until I've mae that dream real... So make it happen girl! Good luck to you!

Quarkmonkey said...

"... Or maybe you don’t have any interest or faith in luck at all and just think I’m a bit of a lunatic ..."

I'm with Obi Wan Kenobi when it comes to luck, and as for the second point...

Still love you to bits though. As a great man once sang, don't go changing to try and please me.

Catherine O said...

I'm not very superstitious but I do like the idea of generating luck in a "pay it back" kind of way. So far, it hasn't worked. The other day, I picked up one of my son's classmates as his father's car had broken down and delivered him to their swimming class. I was so euphoric that I had a) picked up the right child b) got him there safely that I forgot to buy a parking ticket and picked up a £25 fine.

I hope your experiment is more successful!

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I have nothing to help you on the luck thing but I would like to say, however much of the bad luck you think you've had, you've also got some amazing luck that's still with you now - you are lucky to have such an amazing husband in P, he sounds like a fantastic man, one that I wish I could find! You are also lucky to now be a successful author - your writing is so inspiring. You are lucky to have so many wonderful friends and family around you - again by the sounds of it they are the best. I'm pretty sure you have many more lucky things. I know that you already know this stuff but maybe if you keep in the back of your mind about all these things and with a bit of PMA on the luck front, more luck will come your way.
I look forward to reading about your lucky 2011! xx

Lisa Lynch said...

Thank you for the comments, folks! I think I should make it clear though that I'm not doing this because I think I'm unlucky - nobody knows how lucky I am more than me - but simply because, given the comedy of errors that has been some of my luck over the last few years, and the relentless quips about my shit luck, I might be the right girl for the experiment. And it's intended to be a light-hearted experiment at that; a bit like reviewing beauty treatments or restaurants but, y'know, weirder. xx

lilianavonk said...

I don't believe in luck--or rather, I believe that you make your own luck, more or less, but in the final analysis, it's a charming conceit for which this cranky empiricist nonetheless insists on seeing the raw data before ever buying into any of it.

I am, however, a huge fan of Lisa doing any sort of light-hearted experiments, or indeed, any activity that is light-hearted whatsoever, so rock on witcher bad (or good) lucky self, girlfren! ♥

SB said...

Do you know any chimney sweeps?

"Good luck will rub off when I shakes hands with you..."


Anonymous said...

OK, this may sound weird but it has worked for me so bare with it...

I have always considered myself to me a very lucky person, not that bad things don't ever happen but that the bad things always somehow turn out to be good in a way I could not have anticipated. I put it down to always trying to do good things for other people, even if it is just to smile at a stranger and get them to smile back. Simple but seems to have worked for me... I once worked with a client who inspired me, she said that if she could make at least 1 other person smile during her day that made her day worth while. This was coming from someone with a spine that was literally crumbling and had to carry around vials of morphine just to get through the day and relied on a mobility scooter to get around. She felt a pain I can't even begin to comprehend every moment of her day, but man could she make people laugh and feel happy!



Amy said...

A very naive/egotistical thing that works with me is not allowing there to be any chance that you might fail in your mind.

Example: I applied to a Uni that I didn't have high enough marks for, and got in anyway because I didn't allow myself to think it wouldn't work. I risked not getting in to ANY Unis off the back of that; it was the only one I applied to.

Example: I started a blog a few years ago and decided that it was going to get me further in my writing career. I left no room for doubt; it WOULD do it. And it did; a journalist found my blog, liked my style, recommended me for an internship and now I'm writing, soon to be for a living. things and think that there is no possible way good things won't happen. They tend to. Admittedly you also end up with crushing disappointment (When I didn't get a job etc) but it works a lot of the time. I think.

Good luck...

Unknown said...

Love this it's a brilliant idea!

My '100% guaranteed to work' (erm...well maybe) good luck charms are:

1) a Lucky Duck from Whitby. This little glass duck has been with me for every exam, every job interview, my driving test and it works! I've never failed (accept for 3 of the driving tests and an accounting exam - but I don't worry about those). You need to visit the shop in Whitby and choose a duck in your birthstone colour - at the verty least it's a great excuse for a trip to a lovely part of the world and amazing fish & chips.

2) Wishing on dandelion clocks. This got me my first proper kiss! Spotted the boy I wanted to kiss at the outdoor swimming pool in Scarborough. He was super hot with blonde curtains - a mid-90s dream - but shock horror, he was going home. Quickly I wished on a dandelion clock for him to come back - and he did! We snogged - it was AMAZING (tasted of chlorine).

Give them a go - you might get lucky!