The Opposite of Good Luck is Not Bad Luck

I know what you’re thinking. What in the world am I even saying?

I had a heated discussion about luck with my friends today and a bunch of things can happen in your life and you know; saying stuff like “that was so lucky” or “my luck was so bad today” is very commonplace. We’re an Asian society, we thrive on this sort of belief and gleeful rhetoric.

Also, my wallet was stolen today. I left it on the heart of a tabletop and looked away for ten seconds while standing one meter from the table.

When I looked back, poof, it was gone. I checked everywhere, asked everyone and even ran to the (male) toilets around the area to search the cubicles but what up, the wallet was gone.

I wasn’t especially devestated, but who wants to lose their wallet, really? To replace an IC costs 100 dollars the first time round, and every bank card had to be deactivated for good measure. Understandably, my parents weren’t impressed and gave me their own piece of mind.

It hurts to lose things. In that ten second window, what seemed to be a minor lapse in judgement turned into something massively saddening. Unlucky, it may be and in life unlucky doesn’t seem to listen to your excuses.

And then my brother came back and told me that he had gone to Mcritchie Reservoir to run. In all his teenage ignorance, he somehow managed to leave his wallet and handphone on an unguarded bench, trained for an hour, and came back to an intact handphone and wallet. One hour! And not even the monkeys shared a remote interest in his wallet. Given all the factors surrounding his amazing story, I gave him a pat on the back and told him, you were lucky today man, I took all the luck in my situation and gave it to you.

So what’s the deal here with all this random wallet-abandoning banter? What I’m trying to say is, that the same phenomenon that causes a wallet to be stolen after ten seconds is the same thing that keeps a wallet intact after being left unattended for one hour. In other words, good luck and bad luck share the same parents, and that is of unexpectedness. It pays no heed to our emotions or expectations, but just happens.

So when the word “luck” is used, it basically points to when something with a low probability of occurrence happens. Winning a lottery ticket, getting your car scratched, spotting the right questions for an exam, being diagnosed with terminal cancer despite maintaining a healthy lifestyle; anything to do with low likelihoods and terrible odds being realised pretty much is what luck seems to point at. The moniker of “good” and “bad” is a human rendering of this situation, and the way we as people perceive situations as helpful and prosperous or harmful and detrimental. These two are only opposite if you think it is, and so in a pure sense, still mean the same thing.

So, what should be the opposite of luck? The opposite of luck is basically no luck. No luck is when you’re running late and the bus application tells you 6 minutes and the bus really comes in 6 minutes, or when weather forecasts comes true or when your phone screen stays intact after the first drop. That’s no luck, where something you expect to happen, happens without you feeling exceptionally good or bad about it. And from there, you go on with your life, sans comments, elation, or regret. Sounds fun, doesn’t it, to live a life where everything that you expect to happen, happens?

But what is a life without comments, elation or regret? What is a life without a tinge of luck? What is a life without bizarre happenings and strange occurrences? What is life without the good and the bad? And most importantly, what is life without the courage to pursue luck? Without the thirst for opportunities, the anxiety that comes witht the overwhelming possibility of failure? Without the deep longing for just one more chance? It would be a life void of irrational choices, brave discovery and purposeful mornings.

Embracing luck is embracing life, every last dying inch of it.

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