Monday, 16 August 2010

But I don't even know how to fish?!

My sister-in-law is amazing.  I absolutely adore her.  She's utterly gorgeous, has an incredible laid back attitude to life the universe and everything, puts a smile on my brother's face I've never seen so big and gives Nigella a heck of a run for her money when it comes to cooking and baking.  I'd happily volunteer that I'm incredibly envious of her (although it's no secret that I'm prone to the allure of the green eyed monster on a practically daily basis), so needless to say I was quite stunned with something she said to me during a text conversation the other week.  We were talking about the fact that I became the mortgaged owner of my house on Friday 13th (of August 1999) and I jokingly said that I was doomed from the start.  She replied "What you like!  You'd fall in a river and come up with a salmon you would!".  You wha?  I don't know how to fish?!


I've never considered myself a very lucky person, I've had my fair share of ups and downs like most people and my family has been through some testing times in the last few years so I'm not lucky am I?

Hang on a minute...  Do I even believe in luck?

Which cap do I put on here, my science one or my philosophical one?

I can't help but think about it from a practical and empirical point of view (scientist at heart obviously).  I don't believe in luck.  Certainly not in the "ooh you're so lucky in life" sense anyway, I believe I'm lucky to have the opportunity to live a life, I believe I'm lucky to have the family and friends I have, and probably most of all I think I'm lucky to speak English as my first language (phew, I wouldn't fancy having to learn it, muchos complicatidos!).  But lucky in life?  Naaa.  It's all a bunch of numbers and statistics and probabilities and chance and whatnot.

Good fortune out can only equal effort in.  To assist in my explanation of this let me take a quote from a song.  It was a one-hit-wonder type song a few years back by a band called Len but it's a lyric which has stuck with me since I first heard it, it says "of course you can't become if you only say what you would've done".  If there's something you want to achieve you're gonna have to put some effort into getting it, there's no magical genie to snap his fingers a hey-presto it up for you.  If you don't put any work into achieving it you'll likely still be twiddling your thumbs in years to come resenting yourself for what you could've/would've done.  It's not easy.  Stuff gets in the way.  Hurdles crop up.  Enthusiasm wanes.  However, the next line in the song reads "so I missed a million miles of fun".  You'll never know how different things will be unless you strive for your goal.  My goal is being able to earn a good living from something I find interesting and stimulating and proving to myself and my family that I'm smarter than I let myself believe I am.  The thought of waking up one morning knowing I've achieved what I set out to do is so exciting it makes me wanna hop around the living room like a little kid on Christmas eve!  But I won't, I'm 30 now, I should be sensible and mature (best not let on about the stash of Curly Wurly's in the fridge then eh?!).

When I decided that I wanted to aim for a PhD I knew I was going to be up against some challenges, but I've already attempted to overcome some of them.  My propensity for fads is definitely one of them, at some point in my life I've been interested in just about everything however my education is different; I consider it a commitment to a better life whereas fads are simply activities to pass some time.
Another hurdle would be my severe lack of experience.  I have a reasonable job at present however it doesn't provide me with any knowledge or experience to go towards my end goal (although the company is quite nifty at getting grants for training and my boss is always more than willing to let me go on courses somehow related to my job, it's how I learned British Sign Language), so I've tried to seek the means of getting some experience and knowledge elsewhere; namely things like signing up to be a school governor, volunteering on local committees, getting involved in the Open Uni Student Association as a Central Rep and local branch officer, but these are all things I've had to initiate myself.  No one has offered me these positions, I've had to seek them out myself, Lady Luck doesn't smile on you where things like that are concerned.  It hasn't been difficult to get them; there's a nationwide shortage of local authority appointed school governors, the local community committee is open to all and my branch of OUSA was dormant so it didn't take much to be voted on it as an officer.  But all that is beside the point, I still had to do the research to find out about the various things, and then volunteer to be involved and now I have to maintain involvement to reap the benefit from it.

There's still more I want to get involved in, the committees don't actually take up much time so there's room to fit more in but for now I'm concentrating on my actual studies and getting off to a smooth running with those things I'm already involved in, what's the point in becoming involved unless I give it my best efforts eh?!

I think I've rambled on a bit there in trying to get the point across that luck is self-administered so how about I sum up in one short, concise statement...  Here goes...

If you're gonna go falling in rivers, learn how to fish first.


  1. I agree, it's no good moaning about how rubbish life is and how miserable you are unless you're willing to do something about it. Life is what you make it and we take the highs with the lows, the rough with the smooth. But as long as we set our sights high and put in a bit of elbow grease to get there, we'll have a reasonable brush with luck along the way :0) We are in complete control of our own destiny and while we may have to jump a few hurdles to get there, ambition is such a great quality to have.

  2. Nice article Caz.
    But, if you're gonna fall in a river remember two things:-
    A..Learn to swim!
    B..Have LARGE pockets so you'll get bigger fish!!

    I think luck should be re-named "opportunity". It's there for everyone. It's just that some peoples reach is shorter than others.
    You're one of the lucky ones with a long reach...


  3. Luckily [sic] I'm quite a strong swimmer but I've had to wear a nose-clip since I had my operation.

    Completely irrelevant nugget of info there.