Tag Archives: obsession

Luck

Luck can be either good or bad and sometimes you can put a spin on something that starts out as horrible luck but becomes good luck. A perfect example of that is being in a catastrophic car accident, but surviving. It was unlucky that you were in an accident, but lucky that you survived. Sometimes something unlucky can result in meeting the love of your life. If you had not been there or gone through what you did, if you had not been in that hospital, or that building, then you would not have been in that exact place at the right time. You’ve heard of the wrong place at the wrong time but there is also the right place at the right time. Maybe one day you decided to just go another direction on your way to work and avoided getting killed. Maybe you woke up late one morning and missed your flight, only to discover later in the day that that was really the luckiest thing that could’ve happened to you because you missed the crash. I was sure lucky that I decided to go on vacation during the 9/11 tragedy since I worked there. Luck and bad luck are fluid—they are constantly changing because what you consider to be an unlucky event may turn out to be the luckiest day of your life. But is it really luck or divine intervention? It all depends on what one believes but I like to think that all good luck is a blessing and something to be thankful for. Then there are some people who always seem to be lucky, or so you think.

You know those people—the ones who are lucky in love, winning money, or great job. You get those people who win the lottery more than once but can’t handle the consequences and responsibilities of having more money than they are equipped to handle. They change, start living above their limits, destroy relationships and end up broke, and alone. I do believe that luck is not just some random thing—you make your own luck. I hear people described as lucky when they win an award, but in reality they have been working hard to earn that reward. That is not luck—that is skill, talent, and tenacity. To me, pure luck is when you have done nothing to earn your good fortune—lottery, horse racing, or betting on anything. But there are also many people who chase luck as in the case of compulsive gamblers.

My Dad was a person who believed in luck so much that he would spend most every Saturday at the “track” betting on the horses at either of the two racetracks around the NYC area: Aqueduct (the big A) or Belmont. Sometimes he was lucky and would come home as the jubilant big shot, ushering my brother, mom and I out the door to a nice steakhouse. But those were bittersweet memories because even as we were enjoying our night out, I knew that the next weekend could be a totally different scenario. I could never predict what type of mood he would come home in because it all depended on his luck that day. Oftentimes on Saturday evenings, after losing his shirt at the track, he would come home drunk, belligerent, and looking for an argument—it was always a roller coaster. My Dad’s quest for luck sometimes resulted in me, a little girl at the time, fielding phone calls from creditors and telling them my dad was not home when he was standing right near me. I became a liar because of my dad’s unlucky forays into the world of horse racing. My Dad’s obsession with hitting it big required him to have two jobs to support us. Luckily (or rather smartly) my mom held the family together with her job as a legal secretary. I so vividly remember hearing my parents arguing about money through the thin wall of our bedroom at night when my dad came home from his second job. Unfortunately those arguments laid the groundwork for my lifelong phobia of never having enough money and going broke. But it also made me the fiscally responsible person that I am today although I still struggle with a fear of “losing it all”.

The sad part of all this was that no matter how much money my dad won on any given day, he would throw it all back the next week in pursuit of hitting the big one. My parents were always one step away from divorce, but as was the case in those days they just stayed together. Even when my dad no longer went to the track to bet, NYC came up with a new way for people to feed their obsession—it was called OTB (off-track betting) and he just walked down the street to place his bets. Sometimes you have to practice acceptance and just stop fighting and in my mom’s later years that is what she did. She knew she could never change him and just stopped trying.

Perfection

Perfection–what is it and how do I achieve it? I get up every morning, and dread looking into the mirror because I don’t like what looks back at me. I quickly put some Noxzema on my face, which serves two purposes; one is to hopefully get rid of the puffiness under my eyes, and the other actually hides all those imperfections. The older I get, the more imperfect I become in my eyes. When did I get that saggy skin around my mid section? When did I get those droopy jowls, or how come my face has become so thin and lost that youthful volume? In an age when many imperfections can be “fixed” if you have the funds, it is easy to go overboard. I somehow think I will finally achieve Karma if I could just get rid of the fat on my thighs. But, I know for sure that the minute I get a tweak here and there, some other complaint surfaces. Oh, no, my breasts are uneven, or my foot is on backwards. I know that no matter how many surgical procedures I had to “correct” my many imperfections, I would never be satisfied. So many people go through their life with an ideal image of what they want to look like. It is so easy to get caught up in the plastic surgery game, getting one thing, then another, and another, until you don’t even look human; more like a doll or mannequin. I have seen people with real deformities, which, when corrected can transform the quality of their life. But, that is different–I am talking about the obsession with youth or beauty that causes so many people to devalue themselves even when they look fine, just not “perfect”. I know that I could go to the doctor and say, “Look just fix everything that is wrong with me”, and after he did, I’d find something else. It could be never-ending and unfortunately brings momentary “happiness” but it is not lasting. Happiness does indeed come from within, and by continually focusing on that coveted ideal we all see with celebrities, we will forever be chasing a ghost that will vanish in a wisp.

Urgency

Every morning I wake up with a sense of urgency that if I don’t make every minute count in the day, if I waste any part of the day, then I am a failure. Ever since I gave notice to my job, I am actually very busy “working” on creative endeavors such as photography, writing, etc. That sounds great but it has become an obsession now and I never give myself permission to just veg out and chill. That was actually what Saturday was for when I had that day off. For years now, I’ve been working on Saturday so I don’t have that one day when I allow myself a bit of grace. I miss it and I need it. If I were giving people advice I would tell them to not take life so seriously and relax. But that doesn’t seem to apply to me because if I relax, I feel like I am wasting time. Ever since I got my life back, I have a sense of urgency that I have to make every minute count; that life is flying by at warp speed and I have to “make my mark” before I get “old.” I know that I have been given an incredible gift from God, which I do not take lightly, and I know how very fragile life is. I look at my friend Janet who was suddenly diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness, my friend Jane who has MS, and an old friend who has battled cancer for 2 years, and I know how lucky I am. I also know there is such a thing as balance but I don’t know how to be “lazy” sometimes and be ok with it. What I need to do is “live in the day” to some extent, and stop thinking about tomorrow so much. But unless I get a brain transplant, changing my inner core, I can only try.