Warning: This may be a slightly controversial post.
“Lucky” is my least favourite word in the English language.
There is a specific context in which it is my least favourite and that is when people say I am “lucky” to be living in Ireland or “lucky” because I have travelled a fair bit.
Which part of it is luck, may I ask? In regards to living in Ireland, I worked my ARSE off to be here. I’ve wanted to go to Ireland my entire life so after graduating college, I spent weeks researching how to stay in Ireland for an extended period of time and I paid for everything: my flight and all of the activities and adventures I had while I was here. The same goes for round two of Ireland // the present. I am not living on someone else’s dime. I am paying for my education, my living expenses, etc. etc. Everything. Nothing was handed to me. I also didn’t “win” a sweepstakes for a free plane ticket to Ireland, land and have a magical leprechaun hand me permanent residency. That would be luck. No. Instead, I wanted to go to Ireland so I worked really hard to make it happen. As a result, I am living my dreams.
In regards to the travelling I have done (including my round the world trip last year), I have gotten lots of “you’re so lucky”s!! Again, please do tell, how was that luck? A blessing, yes. I am blessed; however, luck did not put $12,000 in my bank account so I could travel 38,000 miles around the world. Hard work for 3 years (and two jobs for one of those years!) and saving every penny put the money into my bank account. Luck also didn’t plan the trip for me. I spent a full year planning my trip and it was easily one of the most stressful (and equally amazing) things I’ve ever done.
Another example is when my sister and I won a trip to go to the Grammy Awards in L.A. in 2012. We were told we were lucky constantly and this is when we started to hate the word. If we won this trip through a random sweepstakes, it would have been luck, but alas, it was not a sweepstakes. Again, we worked hard to win this competition. We spent hours every day for one week trying to figure out the songs in a montage of music where only a split second was played of each song. The fact that we were the only ones to get these correct tells you how incredibly difficult it was.
I must also acknowledge that part of all of this is luck: I was and am very lucky and fortunate to have been born in the U.S. and into a middle class family who taught me and encouraged me to live my dreams. There are billions of people in the world who will never be able to afford a plane ticket or even a bus ticket out of their hometown. I am well aware of this. I met a lot of people in this situation on my trip last year, many of whom became good friends. Meeting them made me realise that I am lucky in a big way. I suppose I just do not appreciate the word coming from a Westerner who has all of the opportunities I do and simply chooses to live their life differently. If you’re one of these people, you might think you can’t travel or live abroad, but you can. I have sacrificed a lot to live my dreams but it is all worth it. This may mean not shopping for clothes, not getting that daily or even weekly Starbucks coffee or not going out for lunch/dinner or drinks very often, but it’s all about priorities.
I also want anyone reading this who knows me personally to know that my life is not all positive and dream-like. I do not spend my days frolicking through the rolling green hills of Ireland and chasing rainbows (okay, some days I do, just not every day). I also do not travel nearly as much as I would like to. After all, I am a student paying international fees! I am a Master’s student, I have a part-time job, I volunteer and in between all of that, I try to have a social life (sometimes I fail). I am living a fairly regular life but it’s an extraordinary life and I am happy. So very happy.
I really like to keep my blog (and my life) positive and don’t like to have this negativity on here, but I feel this had to be written. Next time you wish to tell someone that they are “lucky”, please think about it first.