How Lucky Are You?

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  • More luck — I was raised speaking English. Practically every book or article that gets any attention anywhere is translated into English, so I can read all of it, including scientific writing, an important part of my life. In almost any city I could visit around the world, there would be English-speakers I could talk to, and usually people who would pay me to teach English to them.
  • The downside of English dominance is that there has been no pressure to learn other languages. I have been lazy; I never bothered to learn more than a smattering of French and Spanish and a few words of other tongues. So I’ve missed out on the alternative worldviews and ideas that other languages embody, for example about time, gender,nature,  and family. That loss is my responsibility, though, not bad luck.

    1. True, I’m chronically ill, disabled and aging, which might detract from my luck score. But even there, what a great time in history to have been disabled! The electric mobility scooter was invented about 50 years ago, so I’ve can get around. Before then, I would have been a prisoner in my home.

    The Americans with Disabilities Act, which allows me on buses and across streets, is less than 30 years old. ADA-related amenities allow me to do things and go places better-abled people couldn’t do a century ago. Computers and the Internet keep me in touch with the world and allow me to keep writing, learning and making money.

    1. The older and less abled I get, the more people seem to help me. I have lost my wallet at least three times in the last three years, and it’s been returned by strangers each time.
    2. There’s another plus side to disability. You can’t do as much, so people don’t expect you to do as much. You can usually play the disabled card – “I don’t feel up to doing that now,” and people just say “OK.” .
    3. I have had access to the teachings of Lao-Tzu, the Buddha, and Jesus, and hundreds of other wise people, and the creativity of thousands of artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers. Any time I want wisdom, advice, inspiration or knowledge, to laugh or cry, it’s just a few clicks away, sometimes on web sites like this one.
    4. I’ve had family, where some people are on their own. I have friends, who make my life more interesting, easier and rewarding.  Add in the whole category of on-line friends, and it’s hard to feel lonely, even when I’m by myself.

    Those on-line friends include some special people, authors, thinkers, freedom fighters I would not meet in the real world. I have had correspondence with Anne Benvenuti, author of “Spirit Unleashed,” Robert Sapolsky, who wrote “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers,” and many others.  You can find almost anyone’s e-mail or find them on social media, and they usually respond.

    All in all, amazingly blessed, I would have to say. Definitely top 2%, maybe higher.  But maybe I just don’t realize how lucky other people are. What about you? Can you say you’re lucky, too?


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    6 Responses to How Lucky Are You?

    1. Flo Kelly says:

      Right on. I love your list. It is important for all of us to make our list of the lucky aspects of our lives; as you say, the things we didn’t make happen, but there they are–in place, waiting for us to recognize and appreciate them.

    2. Dev Rogers says:

      Thanks as slways. And welcome!

    3. Roger Eaton says:

      We are all very lucky we got through the cold war without atomic holocaust. Keep your fingers crossed!

    4. Liz says:

      I am most grateful to have clean, delicious drinking water coming right out of the tap!
      Whenever I go away, I am reminded how sweet our water is in Seattle.

    5. Patricia Monagle says:

      As usual, your writing is profound and uplifting. You were also very lucky to have a mom like June! You have such a nice relationship with your wife and sons, too. I feel lucky to be able to have my animals in my teeny, tiny apartment because it is a special kind of love some of us lucky ones get to experience. With 60,000,000 refugees displaced around the world, I am constantly aware of my great, good fortune.

      P.S. I have a new 7-month old grandson, and while I worry greatly about his future, he, is the “light of my life”, and he makes me want to be alive in spite of chronic pain.

    6. Donna V says:

      I am thankful every day for the good fortune that smiled upon my two sons. One was born at 31 weeks, the other near-term (35 weeks) but after multiple complications. Today they are strong, smart, terrific young men with strong moral compasses and love in their lives. It could have so easily been otherwise.

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