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Thursday 23rd August 2012, Hertfordshire
As you may have noticed, I've slowed down a lot lately. At one point I was finding an average of two Lucky People each week and on a couple of occasions I gave away nearly ten grand in a single day. I really loved the buzz. Having a baby is certainly one reason for the recent shift in gear, but I think there's a lot more to it than that. I initially set out to find 100 Lucky People, but as that figure approaches, I've been feeling more anxious about the future of the project and how it's perceived. There's no doubt that I've invited and entertained exposure for Wearelucky in newspapers and magazines, on television and on the radio. There's been loads of online coverage too, but I've often struggled with it all and I often regret doing certain interviews, especially if I can't see how the project has benefited. It's easy to get seduced by the attention but Wearelucky isn't about all that, its about passing on luck and responsibility. It's about trusting people and documenting the magic that occurs.
When I think about Wearelucky in those simple terms, I'm staggered by the interest. Aside from the followers and messages of support on Facebook and twitter, I've received offers from movie producers, television companies, documentary makers and book publishers. Part of me wants to just ignore it, or maybe continue without documenting the interactions, but another part of me wants to make Wearelucky as big as possible. Perhaps I have an obligation to follow that path? I've kind of stumbled along in the dark, making this all up as I've gone along, but now, as some of the joy and excitement is replaced by anxiety, it seems that I have one or two decisions to make.
Simon was one of the workmen grafting on my house. We live in a Victorian terraced property which was badly in need of some care and attention. We decided to take a holiday while the house was being spruced up, but as is invariably the case, it took a lot longer than expected and we had to crash in my mum's spare bedroom. She only lives up the road, so I'd regularly pop back to the house and bound excitedly up the garden path, keen to survey the progress, only to feel disappointed when the front door swung open and none was evident. But those trips were never a total write-off because Simon was always there and he would always make me smile. Like many people I have asked to be part of Wearelucky, Simon just had something very lovely, kind and gentle about him. I trusted my gut on this one.
I'd arranged to drop by Simon's house and pay him for the work on the house, so I took along a Wearelucky invite. When I knocked on his front door I felt that old adrenaline kick in and I savoured the rush of anticipation, the intoxicating mix of nervousness and excitement that I so enjoy. But Simon didn't answer and I suppose I was partly relieved to avoid a face-to-face explanation, but I was disappointed too because I hate the wait for a response to the invite.
Luckily, I didn't have to hold on for too long and Simon sent me a brilliant and touching letter eloquently outlining his ideas and thoughts on receiving such a strange invitation. I'll post it in the 'Follow Up' section. Receiving the letter from Simon felt really special and I know he'll find a great home for the money.
Questions & Answers
1. What were your first thoughts and feelings when propositioned with Wearelucky?
Well firstly it was a complete surprise full of confusion and conflicting emotions. Because I've always maintained the fact that where I maybe lucky in life, I'm not lucky with money, having always believed I have to work for mine. And even though I'm not the greatest fan of M O N E Y, causing probably 99.99% of all the world's problems, even though it is after all a human invention and we can't seem to control it, I still have to respect it. So when someone hands you an envelope with a sentence or two about how lucky you are to spend a thousand pounds on something good, you start questioning everything that has to do with money. However much it pained me to admit, I could have brushed it off, ignoring it all. Yet when I saw I had forty-eight hours to reply I really began thinking about it and read the invitation over and over again.
2.What have you decided to do with the money?
I thought long and hard about what I could do with the money. I could have spent it on myself. Or I could have given it to friends and family, but a thousand pounds just couldn't stretch far enough to improve their lives any more than it would mine. Granted it might have been nice to spend the money on clothes or a new laptop or even a van for work, but the guilt would have eaten at me for so long that I would've wished I'd never been given such great responsibility. So after a couple of days of searching the soul, I came to my conclusions. I chose to give half of it to a charity called Cardiac Risk in the Young as it was coming up to my friend Kevin's fifth anniversary of his death when he died of a heart attack whilst out running. He had already been diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and was determined to not be beaten by it. Sadly though it did, and even though it has been five years, I miss him dearly and knew he went down fighting.
3. What does 'good' mean to you?
It felt great to do something good, and I wished I had more to give. That's when I began questioning the term 'good'. It felt great because I felt good, but it wasn't about me, it was about Kevin, so why should I feel good about myself if all I did afterwards was to brag about it just to get a reaction of glee for 'me' instead of the 'good' the charity does? Good means anything to cause a smile on a face so big it matches the sparkle in their eyes. But that is not to say it's a good thing. To some it could mean getting a dog to tear a bear limb from limb to create entertainment and money or when whales are harpooned mercilessly in the hope of extracting 'magical medicine' in the name of research. To others it could mean helping their fellow human in times of distress or difficulty. Personally to me, 'good' means doing something well without ever telling anyone or causing attention to oneself.
4. Is it important to get something back and why?
As long as I receive a 'thank you' or even a warming smile, I know what I have given has been worth it.
5. Did you feel lucky or responsible?
Luck comes in many forms. In life. In work. In money. In relationships. In being the first and being the last. As I mentioned, I'm only lucky in life and work, they seem to go hand in hand, and since meeting you I've had more luck then I could ever dream of. It just depends on how long that luck can last.