Luck: Where Preparation and Opportunity Meet

When I was a Freshman in high school, I briefly (and unsuccessfully) played softball. It was an “okay” experience, but I had a really great softball coach. She didn’t teach me anything significant about the sport itself. Instead, she taught me about grit, teamwork, and luck. The title of this blog post comes from a quote that I’ve never forgotten. Many years later, I finally understand it. Coach said: “Luck is where preparation and opportunity meet.”

Do you believe in luck? I don’t believe in miracles (or God or fate or karma, just to clarify). I believe in statistics, probability, and making things happen. I guess I believe in luck, too, but mostly because the universe is random chaos, and sometimes things work out in our favor (and sometimes they don’t, take the good with the bad). I know that when I was in middle school, I started believing that 19 was my lucky number. I can’t remember why exactly, but I’m sure it started because my birthday is on the 19th day of October, and maybe I saw the number 19 in a few cool places. I was maybe twelve when this idea was born, and, over a decade later, I’m confused about why. But it was born and I was convinced. My lucky number is 19.

And it’s 2019. Do I believe it’s my lucky year? Within the context of Coach’s quote, I do. If luck is the meeting place of preparation and opportunity, then we’re in my office striking a deal. Preparation is to my left and opportunity is to my right. We’ve met, we’ve had coffee and exchanged niceties, and now we’re getting down to business. The matter at hand: how to sustain this “luck”. Because it’s 2019 and twelve year-old-Bina is going to be pissed off if it’s not the luckiest damn year I’ve ever had.

So, when did preparation and opportunity meet? I came to the University of North Texas in 2014 with the hope that I would graduate with an English degree. And, notice, I said hope. Not plan, not intention. Hope. Because, to be frank, 18 year-old Bina didn’t have the faintest idea what a “plan” was. I don’t think I understood what that word meant until this year. I was holding onto some faint hope, without actually sticking to a plan or working away at a goal. The first year of college was more about making friends than it was about actually giving a shit about my classes. I ended the year with a 2.-something GPA, which I would sustain until I walked the stage. Graduated with a 2.64. My second year of college, I fell into a depressive episode that inspired suicidal thoughts. I experimented with medication for depression and anxiety. I had a creepy professor who scared me away from the English department. I gave up on myself as a writer. I met an emotionally and mentally abusive guy who convinced me to give journalism a try. My third year in college, I was writing for the school news paper. I was losing my mind because of said guy, and we eventually (and explosively) stopped talking. I left journalism. I stopped focusing on my major. I got a boyfriend, who was good for me (for the most part). I left a shitty on campus job for a less shitty on campus job. My fourth year of college, I was working in marketing and taking advertising/marketing classes. My boyfriend (at the time) told me I could use my writing that way. By the end of 2017, I was depressed. I was wondering why I felt so incomplete, why my stomach was in knots with regret. I saw a sign for the North Texas Review’s submissions. I was rejected by them once in 2015, so, I thought to myself, “Why not get rejected again?” I submitted a few poems. In January of 2018, they emailed me with an acceptance. Preparation and opportunity haven’t met yet.

Said boyfriend and I broke up, which I was mostly pissed off about for one reason. Once the poem was accepted, I thought to myself, “Maybe I should return to an English degree. It would only take two more semesters, that creepy professor is gone, and maybe it’ll fix this feeling of regret that’s eating at me.” Of course, boyfriend-at-the-time didn’t like that idea. We were supposed to move in together once my lease was over. We broke up before then. We would never move in together. I graduated with the wrong degree. That feeling of regret eating away at me? It was killing me. Once my fifth poem was picked up, I finally slapped myself in the face (not literally). Go back. Get that damn degree. Apply for graduate school. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. After being out of school for two months, I applied to return for a second Bachelor’s degree. I was accepted. I registered for classes. I emailed my professors to let them know that I’m here with a plan, and I will be asking for letters of recommendations for graduate school in the fall. I have a plan. I know what it’ll take to get to where I want to be. And no more guys are going to get in my way. I went to a poetry reading in November, made friends who are working on their PhD’s in poetry, and started reading more. I found community. I found purpose.

Here. Here is where preparation and opportunity met. They shook hands at the end of 2018, saying to one another, “Bina did it.” And, hell yes, I did it. I have never been more prepared for my journey to a Creative Writing MFA. That’s the goal, and I’m ready to go get it. I have seized many opportunities this year, and many more are waiting in front of me. They shook hands and took their seats. We’re in a meeting, discussing what it’s going to take to make 2019 the best damn year I’ve ever had. Because I deserve it. Did you read through the last two paragraphs? My four years of college were an absolute mess. And the years before that? Oh, man…I haven’t even gotten into the worst of it. I’ve got layers and layers of trauma, from years and years of shitty experiences. 2019 is going to be far better than any other year I’ve had because I’ll make sure of it. Because, statistically, one year is bound to be lucky. Preparation and opportunity are in my office. Here, in 2019. I finally understand what Coach meant.

Welcome to the new year! Welcome to my new blog and website. Welcome to my journey of healing. I’m an open wound, my poetry is my bloody mess, and I’m just trying to heal.

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