Mary's Musings: Are you lucky?

Mary Stewart,

I sat in the Converse County Commissioner’s chambers right after New Year’s. I was there covering the county clerk candidates during their interview with the members of the commission. While the interview questions were pretty standard, as far as interview questions go, there was one commissioner who asked a question that had never been posed to me before.

It was the last question and was made by the commission chairman, Robert Short.

“Are you lucky?”

When I first heard that question my mind started going in about 50 different directions.

First I was thinking like I was the one being interviewed. What does he really mean with this question? What answer is he looking for? I mean, what kind of loaded question is that?

How would you answer that?

Then I started really thinking about it and realized that your answer can say a lot about your personality and how you view the world.

Let’s dive in to this, shall we?

If someone were to ask me that question I would have to take a few minutes to think about it.

I would have to answer . . . yes and no.

Well, that’s just a chicken way to answer the question without really answering the question, you might say. Some might agree but hear me out.

Have you ever been on a long road trip on a clear summer day with hardly any traffic on the road? You’re enjoying the drive, listening to your favorite music, the windows are open and you haven’t been paying that much attention to your speed.  All of a sudden, something clicks in your mind and you look down to see that you’re doing 15 miles over the limit.

You quickly slow down and only a moment later the one and only car that is approaching you turns out to be a highway patrolman. 

Your heart starts racing and your palms get a little sweaty and in your mind you’re sure that he’s going to pull you over.

Instead, you slowed down just in time and he goes right by, not aware of your recent stint on the Autobahn.

Was that luck? Would you consider yourself lucky or was that just a coincidence?

I’ve had moments in my life when my mind suddenly told me to not make that decision, send that email or take that route only to find out later that there was a terrible accident, the email would have caused more problems than necessary or the package of hamburger I considered buying would have been on the recall list.

Was it luck that I bypassed those consequences?

I believe that work and determination work alongside a little bit of luck. Some people may be lucky at the slots more than others (I’m not one of those lucky ones, by the way) but some of my lucky moments have been a result of luck, awareness and a little determination.

I’ve had some friends comment on my writing and they say they are amazed at some of the topics that I write about.

“I just don’t know how you do it week after week. Finding stories and coming up with topics. It must come easy to you,” they say.

Thank you is usually the first thing that I say but I don’t let them see what’s going on in my head week after week.

Some weeks the stories seem to just fall in my lap and my column ideas are plenty. But then there’s most weeks where I’m worried that my story won’t actually be a story, I won’t be able to express any emotions or elicit any feelings with my subjects and that my column idea isn’t really an idea at all.

I doubt my work at times but then someone will say that my last column really touched their hearts or that my last profile piece was really great.

Then I remind myself that luck requires determination and work and I would have to stick with my original answer.

Am I lucky?

Yes, but luck comes hand in hand with hard work.


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