A couple of years ago, I fiddled with the idea of collecting trinkets for good luck. Charm bracelets. Evil eyes to ward off the bad, and wishbones to incite the good. I was going to gather even the most obscure of objects like lady bug and acorn charms, and even a potted lucky bamboo.
Well, I’ve changed my tune. Sure, luck exists, because things outside of our control exist. But I think we need to take charge.
See, Italians have the best expression to wish someone good luck – it’s ‘In Bocca Al Lupo’, which translates to ‘into the wolf’s mouth’. I love this expression. It’s fierce, headstrong, and is about plunging you into the fray of whatever you’re facing.
Rely on your own strength. Go with your gut. Trust in yourself, and go down fighting, or better yet, damn the odds and succeed. After all, a victory that is pre-assured isn’t nearly as satisfying.
Luck is a fickle concept. It can go well or poorly, and you have hardly a say. It is reminiscent of clutching at four-leaf clovers and rabbits’ feet. And sometimes, you need luck. Sometimes all you can do is sit back on your hands and watch the horseshoe and hope it’s facing the right way, so blessings fill up and not pour out.
But more often than not, you need to go boldly and face your wolves. You need to ignore the jagged teeth. Turn toward your fear.
The scariest part to me since graduating was the unknown. The ambiguity of the future, the paths before me that all seemed equally sheathed in shadow. I mean, at the end of the day, they’re all paths to the same places – a career of some sorts, financial independence, the rest of my existence on this earth.
But it’s still a struggle not to worry. Wrong choices and right choices – do they really exist? Or are they just choice a, choice b, choice c, and so on. Like Robert Frost meant in his poem, two paths diverged in a wood, but they end up at the same place. So the specific choice maybe doesn’t matter so much.
What does matter is the actual choosing. Not choosing is the worst. Life is going to happen, no matter what you do. Change is inevitable, and if you do nothing, you can bet that it’s going to be a whole lot of change you’re not going to like. So the important thing is to start making choices, even if they’re infinitesimal. You don’t want life to make the choices for you, because the universe generally doesn’t care about us. It’s busy. So stand up. Go and face your wolves head on.
(Also, I have to say, I think I must have a rather fire and brimstones type of spirit. In Bocca Al Lupo, my love for my potential viking blood, etc etc. Well, if I’m descended from Ancient Romans, and vikings and whatever Germanic tribes settled the Rhinelands [actually I think those were farmers], then it makes bloody sense. But then again, aren’t we all descended from warriors who claimed some jagged rock of land as their own?)