Bad Luck Gets a Bad Rap

As a retiree, I am happy to be independent of gainful employment as I celebrate Independence Day this year. I appreciate my retirement status, and I am reminded how lucky I am every time I run into a former co-worker; all of whom say, “You’re so lucky to be retired.” Frankly, luck had little to do with it. I worked the requisite years, contributed to my retirement fund, and now I’m happy to be reaping the rewards.

Much like good luck is often credited with the rewards of hard work, bad luck is often blamed for the consequences of poor choices. Let’s look at a few examples (these are not personal quotes, but they are reminders to me that when I do something stupid, and something bad results, it has nothing to do with luck):

  • Gambling – “I spent hours at that slot machine and lost $500.00. I have the worst luck.”
  • Reckless driving – “I rushed to make it through that light, just as it turned red, and got T-boned. I have rotten luck.”
  • Reckless behavior – “I had sex with that jerk, and now I’m pregnant. I can’t believe my luck.”

Bad luck has become the crutch propping up the rapid decline of personal accountability. Here in Retirement Land, personal accountability is much more… personal. When you mess up while retired, the impact as well as the effect is usually personal. Yes, another benefit of retirement, is that when you do something stupid, you have only yourself to blame. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “Life’s good!”

So what is good luck? Among other things, good luck is being born with natural talent. Natural talent is the kind of thing that spurs many people on to long happy careers. Natural talent is the kind of thing that encourages many people to retire early to further explore and share that talent. Natural talent is the kind of thing that allows for great professional success providing the choice for either a long happy career or early retirement. That’s good luck. Of course, really, really hard work can result in professional success, too – but not always. That’s bad luck

Bad luck is getting cancer. Good luck is being cured of cancer. Bad luck is being hit by a car that runs a red light. Good luck… has nothing to do with driving. In my mind (since retiring, my mind has been my most frequent travel destination), luck is kind of like a wet bar of soap: you get a hold of it and it’s ready to lather and do it’s soap job, but if you squeeze it too hard, it slips right out of your hands, falls to the ground where you can step on it, slip and fall and break your neck. That will totally burst your good luck bubble.

My advice to young people is to work hard, be courageous enough to explore your natural talents, and be careful while handling soap. Good luck!

My brother-in-law uses his natural talent to make cool soap.

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