The English language offers many words with multiple interpretations of their definition based on context, usage and point of reference. Words that have similar definitions often convey different emotional responses to those who hear or read the word.
None of this is new; however, I am amazed by how any two people can interpret the same comment differently causing varied reactions. We see this play out time and again in a family or friend text group: each individual interpreting emoji’s and acronyms differently or out of context. By not understanding a word/gesture’s true meaning or intention, we often misinterpret the points being made. And furthermore, we typically don’t ask for more clarification. We all have certain words that create a strong, emotional response triggering the desire to correct the user of the word. For me, the word is LUCKY! Why? Because I don’t believe in luck.
For those of you who have spent time with me, attended one of my presentations or have read my book – Living with Loss, One Day at a Time,you will know that I consider myself very FORTUNATE for where I am in life and don’t consider it luck. We can argue about semantics, yet the use of the two words LUCKY and FORTUNATE conjure an emotional reaction in me.
I continue to hear how “lucky” I am that I have found love twice referring to both my deceased and living husbands. Is it luck? Personally, I believe I am fortunate to experience love and with my hard work at wrapping my arms around the untimely death of my husband Rod, the notion of calling a new man my husband and articulating my needs has helped to create a rewarding and meaningful relationship. I personally don’t consider myself lucky that my living husband, Taner has entered my life – instead I feel very fortunate that we have the opportunity to build a lasting, loving relationship.
The definition of luck is success apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions. The definition of fortunate is bringing some good thing not foreseen as certain. Yes, these two words have great commonality but my point is you have to work hard, remain connected and have a desire to want a specific outcome to truly be fortunate. Good weather is based on luck. You can plan an outside event for a specific time of year when the weather normally cooperates, yet you can’t count on controlling Mother Nature. A perfect example is that I live in Colorado with 300+ inches of champagne powder snow a year. As an avid skier, we live for a power day, but unless you have the ability to click on your skis at any time, you are lucky to hit a perfect powder day. I feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to ski and catch a powder day not because I have good luck, but because I have chosen to live here.
Along with the founder of Camp Widow, its board of directors and fellow widows, I’m honored to support younger widows – in fact, we often refer to ourselves as being fortunate that we have found each other. The untimely deaths of our husbands, the desire for connection, love and understanding of loss has contributed to finding one another (obviously with the internet’s help). I believe in my heart that we were brought together by our husbands who at the time were providing guidance and support. Our long conversations of loss and our futures have created lasting friendships. I can’t imagine luck brought us together as our backgrounds are so different, we live all over the United States and the circumstances of our losses vary.
Being fortunate for the warmth in my life results from hard work and appreciation of what I have and what I can offer to my community. The cliché “what goes around comes around” has great meaning. The notion of doing good for others, sending positive vibes into the universe and creating good karma in our life is essential. Individually, we can interpret the gestures, comments and use of words to our liking; however, taking action is essential if we want to feel fortunate for what we do have. Each day the sun rises and I feel fortunate that I wake up, that I make a difference in our world and feel loved. This is not by luck as I have experienced unlucky and unfortunate events – it’s what you do with the hardships that guides your future. Our destiny is based on what we seek out, so seek activities and people who make you feel FORTUNATE for what you have. Please do not wait for luck!
Rachel Kodanaz is an author, speaker and consultant who provides encouragement to individuals or workgroups who are suffering a loss or setback. She is the author of Living with Loss, One Day at a Time and Grief in the Workplace: A Comprehensive Guide for Being Prepared and Living with Loss, One Day at a Time. Both are available on www.rachelkodanaz.com or www.amazon.com.