Is Bad Luck Really a Thing?

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“Of course this would happen to me. I just have bad luck.”

My 18-year-old daughter made this statement to me a couple of months ago. As I wrote about in my Huffington Post article, her college roommate decided not to come to school at the very last-minute. My very anxious daughter was left without a roommate at the beginning of her freshman year of college. To say she was unhappy is an understatement.

My response to her bad luck statement was that she was being ridiculous, that there is no such thing as bad luck.

The thing is, I was not so sure if I believed what I was saying. I hate to admit it, but sometimes it does seem like she just has bad luck. I also feel that way regarding myself, and to some extent my younger daughter.  It feels like bad things just seem to happen.

Someone once told me that life only gives you as much as you can handle.

Twenty years ago, life gave me a tough one. I desperately wanted to have children but had a very difficult time getting pregnant. We went through three rounds of in-vitro over two years before I got pregnant with my now 18-year-old daughter. Two years later, another round for her sister.

That was difficult, but my husband and I got through it. We then had 29 weeks of peace with my first pregnancy – until I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and was put in the hospital for the following four weeks. My daughter was born seven weeks early and spent the first five weeks of her life in the NICU.

Was that bad luck? I’m not sure – she did eventually come home a happy, healthy, albeit tiny baby.  My next pregnancy was normal. All’s well that ends well. I believed I had been through my tough period. Life had given me something difficult and I got through it.

The bad luck could move along to the next person. I had done my time.

Not so fast. We were on a good run for about 12 years. Life was good. Sure, we had a few bumps in the road here and there, but doesn’t everyone? Then suddenly, we had the worst luck imaginable – my husband had a heart attack and died. Just like that. Horrible luck. Couldn’t get much worse, could it?

Three weeks after my husband’s passing, we were hit with a crazy October snowstorm in NJ. Our power was out for an entire week. Although I was certainly not the only person with no power at that time, I cannot imagine that anyone else in that situation had just lost their spouse. Not only was I a clueless, depressed new widow – I was now a homeless, clueless, depressed new widow. That was when I believed I had the worst luck in the world.

In the almost six years since then, my girls and I have been doing well, although there have been many small signs of bad luck.

We went on vacation, and my older daughter got violently ill.

On the hottest day in July a few years ago, my air conditioner broke.

In the pouring rain, my roof started to leak A LOT, and I found out I need a whole new one.

My younger daughter was hit in the head with a snowball and ended up with a concussion (yes – a snowball – with a chunk of ice in it).

Same daughter got her tongue stuck in her braces and we ended up in the Emergency Room. Yes – you read correctly – her tongue was actually caught in her braces and we could not get it out!

Then there were some more difficult things, such as my older daughter going through a bad period of depression and later being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

In the last couple of years, things were finally looking up. We seemed to be on a good run – until a few months ago, when the bad luck decided to form a black cloud over my house.

I’ll start with a simple one – my dryer broke – just when I had two giant trunks of dirty camp clothes coming in and also needed clean clothes for college to go out.

The daughter with anxiety, who was already a nervous wreck about leaving for college, received that awful text from her roommate saying that she decided not to come to college. She no longer had a roommate. For a girl with anxiety, this is extremely bad luck.

My younger daughter came home from camp with a mysterious stomach ailment and spent most of the next couple of weeks in doctors’ offices and having tests done.

Both daughters, in the car together, were in an accident. Thankfully, they are both fine. A girl, who was answering a message on her laptop while driving, swerved into their lane and hit them.

These things, each on their own, are dealable. Being that they all happened at the same time, after everything else that has happened to the three of us in the last few years, seemed like terrible luck to me.

If life only gives you as much as you can handle, why on earth does it think we can handle so much?

I am a pretty optimistic person and I try to make the best out of a bad situation.  If possible, I like to make lemonade out of lemons. Bad luck is something that I would prefer not to believe in – there is no black cloud over my daughters and me.

I look for a silver lining, and yes, I do see a few: the dryer was fixed, my children escaped the accident without a scratch on them, my daughter’s stomach ailment was thankfully nothing too serious.

These bouts of “bad luck” can take a lot out of me, and my stress level goes through the roof.  Although it is sometimes hard to do, I try my best to get through it and keep moving forward.

Hopefully, one day I won’t get any lemons – just the lemonade – it will rain down in buckets – maybe even with a little vodka in it 🙂










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  1. This!! So much this. My luck after becoming a widow is so evident that I googled it and found your blog. Thank you for sharing. I’m headed to google curses. It’s all I can think of next.

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