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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The debt of luck

It starts with a bit of a dream, a fantasy. You take a leap of faith and leave the rest up to chance. Of course not every dream is a winner..
It starts with a bit of a dream, a fantasy.
You take a leap of faith and leave the rest to chance. Of course not every dream is a winner, but every so often the skies clear up and you get a lead, an opening, the start of something that could be beautiful. "All my hard work is finally bearing fruit" says your pride.. or perhaps it's just your sense of entitlement..

Then something else entirely happens.

The pieces start falling into place, and your lead turns into an adventure far beyond your expectations. You're overwhelmingly happy, and yet an unshakable thought keeps echoing through every fiber of your being, the worrisome thought that perhaps you didn't deserve all of this, and that your new found luck comes with a cost, a debt.

A friend tells me it's "Happiness Anxiety". Only a shrink could've concocted such a paradoxical match-up of words. Then again, how else would you describe something as paradoxical as your own happiness triggering a burst of anxiety ?

Perhaps a more suitable way to look at it would be "Post-Happiness Anxiety": What happens after we get all those things we've been pursuing, and more ? Well, besides finding a whole new set of things to covet.. Like a child that gets a new toy and doesn't enjoy it as much as he would like to for fear of breaking it, we tend to hold back on our happiness, looking around suspiciously for the hidden clause, the "wake-up tax" that will set us back to where we were.

I sometimes wonder if we get a finite amount of luck in life. If that's the case, what's the price of winning the lottery ? Would such a stroke of luck earn you an equally devastating dose of pain .. perhaps a horrendously painful death ? Could that be traded in for a mild case of bad luck for the rest of one's life ? I guess what I'm saying is, does it all even out in the end, or will some of us get away with being .. just plain lucky ?

Recommended media: It's been ages since I've watched a good movie (thank you Johanna). So.. nothing to share here today. Sorry.
[image credit]


October 11, 2011 at 9:37 AM Joselyn

Mid-May of this year, I stopped and thought to myself "Oh my gosh, my life is going so well!! This is awesome!!" Then I sat there for a second and thought "Wait, things don't usually go like this for me. Something must be amiss." It was like I was waiting for the universe to suddenly realize that it had been overly generous toward me. And, sure enough (1 week later), the stuff that I felt particularly satisfied by and happy with was GONE. My conclusion? Try not to attach your happiness and sense of contentment to external things...instead, strive to just be happy with yourself as a person because you're basically all you're ever going to have ;) It sounds like a load of psychobabble, but I think it's true...and I know that achieving something like this is akin to a Buddhist obtaining Enlightenment. But I suppose it's something to work toward.

October 11, 2011 at 4:39 PM Fadi

I think this one should go to the hall of fame of the best comments I've had on this blog.. Thanks for the advice :)

October 13, 2011 at 4:50 PM MATT

This post feels like you were reading my mind while writing. One of my leads led to a great adventure I was so happy about last night, but it also came at the cost of losing someone who was important to me, that kept this tiny little nagging feeling in the back of my mind, if I should truly be this happy! Oh well, c'est la vie.

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