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Dear Universe… Did I Piss You Off or Something?

Begging For Luck at a Temple in Beijing, China, 2008

It’s been a few weeks that nothing, absolutely nothing is going my way. No major disaster (phew!) but I am going through a string of little inconveniences, disappointments and failures that put a damper on everyday life.

For instance:

  • The freelance contract I have with a major client is ending and it can’t be renewed for legal reasons (nothing to do with me, it’s just the way the agreement was set up).
  • Work is slow to come and clients don’t reply to my emails.
  • Submissions I made to several websites were turned down.
  • Everything I touch either breaks, bugs, lags or has no battery when I need it (I am looking at you, Android phone).
  • Essential items from my supermarket trips (like a loaf of bread) are nowhere to be found in the shopping bags by the time I get home hungry.
  • Every time I bike downtown, I get soaked by the rain. It doesn’t rain when I leave and it magically stops when I am indoors, though.
  • Every cup of coffee I order seems to leak just to stain my clean t-shirt.

Times like these, I wish I were religious. I could complain to a god instead of reporting my latest issue to Feng (who isn’t listening anyway because he is busy watching every single live soccer game and replays in case he missed something while I was venting). If I believed in a higher power, I could go to a place of worship, light candles, burn incense, chant, pray, whatever it takes and beg for my luck back.

But I only believe in a form of karma and “pay it forward”, so I am left wondering what I did to piss off the universe. I am usually a fairly decent human being—I prevent Mark from putting his peanut butter-covered fingers on clothes in stores, I occasionally buy strangers in the lineup a coffee at Starbucks and I make sure I never use the last sheet of toilet paper (or if I do, I replace the roll). Oh, and of course, I am a great mother completely devoted to special snowflakes (i.e. I pretend I love playing “hide the ball behind the couch” over and over again), a supporting wife (i.e. I try to give Feng some quiet time to watch the World Cup) and an awesome freelancer (i.e. I make sure that sentences in my translations contain verbs).

Trying to get your luck back is exhausting. I figured I had to change something, so instead of repeating the same old routine over and over again, I biked on different roads, took Mark to new places and tried to get out of my comfort zone.

It was fun but it didn’t seem to work.

Instead of applying for normal freelance gigs I know I can do well, maybe I should go for these I-am-living-the-dream jobs, like travel writer (all expenses paid and covering only cool places, obviously), private island caretaker (ideally, I’d be the only resident) or bakery taster (“give me a bit more of this chocolate cake, I am not sure how to rate the flavour…”). Eh, who knows, maybe I would actually land one of these jobs when I least expect it.

Whatever it takes to unjinx me, really.

But first, maybe I should define what I really want. As they say, you don’t get shit you don’t ask for.


  • I want to keep on working as a freelance copywriter, translator and editor. I sincerely think I am good at my job and that I can help my clients. So yes, I’d love some new work opportunities in this field.
  • I want to keep on writing on this blog and if possible, for a wider audience. Yes, I am one of these “I’d love a book deal” bloggers. I have stories to tell and I’d love to have readers to enjoy them.
  • I want a few good surprises. Whatever they are. I want to be like a kid opening a Kinder egg!

How do you get your luck back when you need it? And what do you want from life?

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