I believe in optimism. I am incredibly unlucky. I get caught the first time I break any rule. If there are stairs to trip over, I will trip over them. Any time I say something I shouldn’t, there is someone within earshot who becomes offended. My parents have even been known to call me Murphy, as in Murphy’s law. I am a living testament to this law. While it might sound unfortunate, I feel that I have benefited from it.
I am so unlucky sometimes that people don’t believe me. For example, people don’t believe my history with cars. My 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit was a hideous faded brown, had no headliner, and was sturdy as an aluminum can. I drove this car to one of the richest public high schools in Indiana, so it was out of place, but I loved that car. On the last day of senior year, someone backed straight into my car. It only left a medium sized dent on my door, so I assumed I would be alright to drive home. But, that little dent was enough to knock my alignment out of place and cut my brakes, and my steering. It wasn’t worth the money to repair it, so my beloved second rate car was totaled. I spent most of my summer without a car until right before I went away for college. I got the title to my new car August 22ndand moved to college shortly after. On September 2nd, someone smashed my front end. Luckily, no one was hurt, but my car was totaled. It is so unlikely for someone to have two cars get totaled in 3 weeks that no one believed it happened. By surviving this accident, I’ve learned that a little luck can go a long way.
If I were always lucky, I would never truly appreciate it. Since that hasn’t been the case, I am grateful for something lucky when it comes along. I am truly appreciative of the ‘little things’. When someone makes my day better, I feel lucky. If I didn’t walk into walls, get stuck in lines, I would be completely different. Because of my lack of luck, I am cautious. I always think of how things could go wrong, and take precautions. I am happiest, that my bad luck has taught me optimism. No matter what, I know that there is always something good in life. No matter how bad things are, there is chance that everything will get better. I have learned things are only as bad as you make them. If you choose to dwell on bad things, nothing will get better. But if you are optimistic, things will turn around. Even if they don’t, if you are optimistic, life won’t seem as bad. Whenever something unlucky happens and I feel like I am at the end of my rope, I remind myself that at the end of that rope is a tire swing that will keep me from falling any further.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.