Monday, June 09, 2008

The Lucky One

So I’ve just been through a few days of wallowing in self-pity. This happens occasionally and I assume that everyone goes through it. A few events happen and your psyche just suddenly explodes into this whole mess of emotions and irrational feelings and misdirected despair. Right now I don’t want to focus on the reason because I have a strong belief that it has been if not corrected it is at least repaired to the point of satisfaction. What I want to write about is how silly it is for me to ever go woe is me. Which is precisely what I was doing.

To call myself lucky and blessed is an incredible understatement. Let’s just start with where I find myself. Right now, there are roughly 6.7 billion people on the planet with 300 million in the US. In terms of Net Worth per Capita, with the exception of Switzerland and Luxembourg, I live in the wealthiest country in the world, which is a 4.5% probability. Just slightly better odds than flipping a coin five times and having it land heads every single time.

Now look at the environment where I was raised. Both my parents graduated college. While I didn’t lead a privileged life (didn’t have my own room until I was 13 and lost it when I was 16) it was as comfortable as could be. Was educated in private schools, never had to worry about any of the essentials, had more than enough toys and gadgets, had a computer in 1984 (Commodore 64 but still, I was programming when I was 10), and grew up in a house where books and reading was the norm. I have a family that loves me and supports me in everything I have ever done. It’s all rather amazing.

I’ve been blessed with an intelligence that allowed me to study electrical engineering in one of the top schools in the world on the subject. When I grew tired of the workplace and my successful career I decided to go to another world renowned school to study finance despite the fact that I had no background in it. I succeed there, head off to another career and when I grow tired of it I have the confidence to walk out into the future without any plans in hand. Because I simply know that I will find my way.

I’ve been to Europe five times. I’ve twice flown to Mexico to be a guest at a wedding in which I was one of a handful of Americans. I’ve had dinner with someone from every continent. On a regular basis I will get emails from around the world asking how I am doing. I have friends who will come to my aid in an instant for no reason other than they know that I would do the same.

I had the time and the ability to read the ten greatest novels of the 20th century. I take a week to read a Shakespeare play every year. I have the freedom to sit down and write whatever I feel like night after night and people I have never met read it and comment on it. I have a mind that allows me to run statistical regressions one minute and write a novel the next. I’ve experienced life and love and have memories and stories from all of it.

How lucky am I? How can I ever curse fate and wonder why me? What are the odds of my life? It’s staggering to think just how lucky and blessed I am. There are times that things don’t go the way I wish. Not every moment is perfect even though I wish it was. And while that might suck it sure doesn’t justify feeling sorry for myself. People dream about the life I have been given. If you plopped them in my skin they wouldn’t be lying on the couch going “woe is me”. They’d be celebrating every single moment they have.

Life can get me down when things don’t follow my visions. But I should never for an instant question what I have been given. Just being on this planet, having everything that is wonderful and amazing surrounding me, is a gift beyond belief. And for some reason, one that I will never understand, I was blessed with a thousand additional wonders that I hope I put to good use. As long as I keep that in mind there is never any reason for me to get too down. Besides, who knows what is going to happen next? Just because things don’t go according to plan doesn’t mean your dreams aren’t going to come true.

I posted Freedy Johnston’s version of this song a few weeks ago. I’ll add in Mary Lou Lord’s cover tonight. I can’t explain the anime but it is rather cool. And I am lucky.

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