You’re lucky

by Jonathan Twombly
Last Updated: September 18, 2023

How lucky are we?

Consider this.

In 1961 or thereabouts, a young woman got off a bus in a college town on her way to meet her ex-boyfriend.

She planned to deliver a present in the hopes of getting back together.

But her shoes were killing her, so she stopped to buy better ones.

That done, she resumed her walk towards his dorm.

As she passed by the college gates, a young man exited and saw her.

He felt compelled to talk to her. At the next intersection, he caught up to her and started talking.

Two years later, they were married.

Six years after that, they had me.


I owe my existence, my children’s existence, and every future generation of my family’s existence to a pair of uncomfortable shoes.

Had my mom passed that gate 15 seconds sooner or later, my dad would have missed her.

Had he left the library where he was studying 15 seconds sooner or later, he would have missed her.

Had he glanced in a different direction as she passed, he wouldn’t have seen her.

Had she made it across the street before the light turned red, he wouldn’t have caught up to her.


How did your parents meet? I bet you know the story, and it involves them randomly being in the same place at the same time.

Growing up next door to each other.

A blind date.

A classroom.

A party.

A party one of them didn’t want to go to but ended up going to anyway.


Now multiply this randomness by every set of ancestor-parents you have.

Ten generations back, we have more than 500 sets of great-grandparents.

Push that back just 2 generations and the number quadruples to over 2,000 sets.

Every set had to be in exactly the right place at the right time to meet.

If a single set did not meet, you would not be here.

In fact, the chances against you being here are astronomical when you think about the wars, famines, diseases, childhood mortality, accidents, and everything else every single one of your ancestors had to beat just for you to be here.


I’m not religious. But I can understand how this might make you think it’s not accidental that you’re here.

Either way, our existence is truly miraculous.

It’s something that shouldn’t have happened.

But it did.


So the next time you get upset because of something the FED did, or the city council did, or your tenant did, stop and think.

Remember how lucky you are to have the chance to complain about interest rates, or dumb politicians, or irritating tenants.

Every single obstacle is a blessing.

You already won the lottery just by making it to where you are now.

Success is far more likely than your existence.

So forget about the “obstacles” and just start.

Every single move you make changes the future.

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