I’ve heard the term beginner’s luck used my entire life, but I’m not sure I’ve experienced it. That instant where someone trying something for the first time enjoys early success. Those who are experienced and expect different results write it off as beginner’s luck. They expect that things will not go well for someone who doesn’t know what they are doing.
What if there is more to beginner’s luck than luck? What if it is more than just a way to write off someone else doing well?
The rock band the Eels have a fun song called “Beginners Luck.” They talk about how life keeps working his way because of luck.
What if beginners luck is more about not knowing the limits? What if it’s more about not knowing what doesn’t work? Or not knowing what you can’t do?
What if it is about the freedom to make mistakes and not worry about it? What could you do if you didn’t have to worry about being wrong or making mistakes? What could you do if no one told you how far you could go?
The Eels’ song is more about embracing love and facing the challenges that life provides. All those things you believe when you are young and free and in love.
But life tends to wear us down. things get in the way. Bills arrive. Jobs require commitments. Bad things happen that derail our dreams. And we fight to maintain status quo. Or perhaps to define a better status quo. We start understanding how things work and what we need to do. We made mistakes and we know how not to make them again. We get better at avoiding other mistakes.
And that experience is a good thing. But we lose the willingness to take risks. We fear messing up.
Nothing sucks the joy out of life like fear.
What if the rock songs that appeal to our youthful exuberance, that call out to our passionate naivety about life are as true as we get older as they were when we were young? What if love matters more than paying bills? What if passion, connection, intimacy and confidence are the true currency of the world and we’ve been suckered into embracing the American Dream?
I spent a significant time unemployed. I enjoyed it. The hours were awesome. The pay sucked and the benefits were terrible. But I had tons of time to connect with my wife and kids. I was closer to my friends. I sunk significant energy in things I really cared about.
I was living the rock and roll dream. Sure somethings were hard. But now that I am making more money and have great insurance, I miss taking walks with my wife every morning. I long to be able to attend all the school events. Lazy Sunday afternoons where we just hung out and talked seem so far away.
Now, I work too much and sleep too little.
Now I wonder if the Eels song isn’t just fun and nostalgic. What if I sold the truth to buy a lie?
What would have happened if I fought more to keep love first, to value family over all else?
C.S. Lewis once said ,”if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road.” But it seems so far away. It feels like too much work. Momentum sucks when it moves in the direction you don’t want to go. Swimming against the stream, though exciting when young, just makes me tired now. Even contemplating it makes me tired.
As much as I desire a do over, I hate redoing things. Rewriting grates on me, especially major rework. Yet it is crucial to get what I want.
Can I rewrite life?
What story do I want my life to tell? To be a modern day Sisyphus? Roll my stone to the top of the hill today and then tomorrow and then the day after? IS that the story I want my kids to learn to tell their kids?
Somewhere in life, there is rest. And peace. And joy. And hope. And love.
I used to know where to find it. Back when I was young, beginning, it all made sense. It was all so obvious. I need some beginner’s luck now so I can rediscover the true treasures of life.