Once in a Lifetime

Once in a lifetimeIn 2002 my girlfriend (now wife) and I went to a Fleetwood Mac concert.  We had a difficult time getting to the concert because she had a broken foot and was using crutches.  The general admission parking was at least a half mile walk to the entrance, so I ended up carrying her on my back for much of the distance.  As the diligent boyfriend, I wasn’t going to complain.  However at the end of the show, she insisted that we try to get a ride back to the car from security.  We were told to wait at the security station for the van to come pick us up.  Alongside us was an irate woman and her boyfriend, that were also waiting to be picked up.  Phrases like, “He can’t go out there!” and “This is ridiculous that we’re being treated this way!” were thrown about several times.  It became evident to me that I was sitting next to Billy Corgan.  Although the Smashing Pumpkins had broken up, I was still sitting next to a relatively important celebrity of the time.  Despite my realization, I kept quiet until after we’d all been picked up by the van and he and his girlfriend had departed.  At that point, I spilled the beans to everyone else in the van.

It is pretty likely that I’ll never get another chance to meet Billy Corgan.  I can live with that.  Even though I fumbled a chance to have a few minutes of conversation with a talented musician, it was OK.  I wasn’t prepared to have that particular once in a lifetime experience that night.  It was completely by chance.  Many of the events in our lives happen by chance and we need to do the best that we can with those circumstances.

The other “once in a lifetime” experiences are ones that we do by choice.  We seek them out and plan them.  Marriage is the most potent for me personally.  We spend years searching for this person.  Then we spend months planning the wedding.  After all of the research and planning, half of the people in the US get it “wrong”.  This is not a judgment that divorce is wrong or these people are horrible.  It is more of an interest in the story that they tell themselves before they decide.  Perhaps if we had a better story about this once in a lifetime event, we would not have fifty percent of people opting out.

The story that we tell is about getting married:  the party, the dress, the friends, the family, the cake and the honeymoon.  The story that we need to tell ourselves is about the journey through life with a teammate who is there to challenge us to get better.  Someone that we can rely on and can rely on us when things get ugly.  We trade the once in a lifetime experience of choosing a special person for the dream of a special day that’s supposed to carry us the rest of our life.

Life is a game of chance or a game of choice; so choose wisely.  Read the previous statement over and over again until it sinks in.  Basically every experience that you have each and every day will be “once in a lifetime”.  Are they the experiences that you are choosing?  Even if they are chance encounters, how are you choosing to deal with that chance?  In a life with basically no “redos” what do you choose to do this time?

Have a great day today!  After all it’s your choice.



The Dead Black Cat?

blackcatThis morning on my daily run, I saw something on the sidewalk in front of me in the darkness.  I had assumed that it was a garbage can lid or something of that sort.  When I got close enough to make out what it was, I realize that it was a dead black cat.  It was not what I was expecting but I veered to the right and continued past the feline that had met its demise under a car tire.  As I finished my run, I gave some thought to what a “luckologist” might have to say about my experience.

From one point of view, the cat was not able to cross my path.  So my fate should be clean and clear.  On the other hand, black cats are supposed to carry all sorts of bad omens.  So having a dead one show up in your path could not be good.  Before writing this I did a cursory search of the interwebs and found nothing concrete about dead black cats.

So here I am at the end of my day that basically started with dead black cat.  It was a pretty good day overall.  Although it was busy and filled with lots of “to do” list items rather than “want to do” items, I really cannot complain.  My day was not a product of the luck of the draw.  I was the major factor in the fortune or misfortune that I experienced.  Life is not a set of circumstances to avoid or omens to look for.  It is a string of possibilities that we choose to act upon or let pass.

The greatest predictor of your destiny is not how many mirrors you’ve broken or four leaf clovers that you’ve found.  It is the actions that you take.  The words that you say to a loved one when they need it most.  It’s the helping hand that you give to someone that you barely know.  Choosing to stand up when all you want to do is run away.  These are the decisions and actions that decide your “luck”.  Your good fortune is not something mystical that you have to fear.  Your good fortune comes from a life of good action and recognition that you were “lucky” to be alive today, no matter how it went.