‘Undelivered Mail’: To luck

May 22, 2023, 4:58 p.m.

How many times have you wanted to say something but stopped yourself just before you did? “Undelivered Mail” features letters thought out but never sealed and delivered: to concepts, people and navigating life, through my eyes.

Dear luck, 

When you wish upon a star

Makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires

Will come to you.

~ Pinocchio

How important are you, really? I always thought of you as something ubiquitous — we all received our share of you helping us out when we needed it the most. But how much of your mythicism is just coincidence? 

‘Lucky girl syndrome’: if you believe you’re lucky, good things will come to you.

I told my grandad the summer before senior year, “Everything good that’s ever happened to me was just good luck.” That’s a bold assumption to make. Was an element of luck involved in everything? Probably. Was it the main reason why things just seemed to work out? Nope. But maybe I’d been practicing my version of lucky girl syndrome — attracting luck by attributing everything I did to it. 

Then came college applications. Day after day, I was reassured by everyone surrounding me, “Sara, these things are just luck.” Luck became omnipresent in every crevice of my life.

So, when I opened my decision letter on the first of April, I remember screaming, “I’m so lucky!”

But this attribution to a concept, not even a real place or person, isn’t always fair to ourselves. Yes, you may chant affirmations to yourself because of a TikTok, tell yourself that you are the ‘Lucky Girl’ they talk about, and save every sound that claims to give you bad luck if you skip. But it’s important to remember that luck is just that — a word. 

There’s an element of chance in everything we do; there are just too many things happening simultaneously in our little world not to have that. So, although I think I am so lucky to be here (especially now that the weather’s so nice), I also know that my being here was made possible by a series of probabilities that somehow turned in my favor. I don’t know if that’s luck — because to access that luck, you must have worked hard, done those activities and pursued your passions. 

When it works in your favor, this syndrome is great. I’ll attribute everything I’ve done to luck, and in some convoluted way, that’ll keep me working hard because I pass off everything good that happens as a fluke. I’ll keep taking risks, take a class WAY out of my comfort zone or try something new, hoping I’ll be lucky. We don’t decide where we’re born, which school we go to, what our parents are interested in and how that’ll shape our interests. We do decide what we’ll do with those opportunities, and those decisions aren’t always luck.

It goes downhill when you attribute everything bad that happens to luck. “Oh no, I was so unlucky I fell off my bike,” and “Shit, I got such a bad grade on my final, I’m SO unlucky.” A loud sigh frequently accompanies these sayings. When these become a question of luck, it becomes irreversible — something you have and can’t get rid of. 

So even though luck acts as a great protective blanket, keeping us warm and letting us believe in this mythical concept as though it’s a person, our friend even, I’m going to keep myself accountable for how much I give it. Luck is important, I agree, but so are my actions, more so than luck can ever bring. 

Thanks for being on my side for all these years. I’ll keep you near. 



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