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Perfect Lucky Person
Monday 12th November 2012, Watford, Hertfordshire.
Closing in on my original aim to find 100 Lucky People, I'd decided that Wearelucky – or at least this first part of the project – should come to a conclusion.
It had been stressing me out for a while and I'd been holding off from finding the last few Lucky People. I suppose in some weird way I was starting to think that they deserved to be even more special. I was over-analysing the whole process and looking out for the 'perfect' opportunity – something I'd vowed never to do. I've always tried to keep it as spontaneous as possible and let luck decide where the money went. I'd gone from finding (on average) three Lucky People every couple of weeks to just one or two a month. I suppose part of the enjoyment had evaporated. A sudden increase in media attention meant that I was hoping for each new Lucky Person encounter to trump the previous one...and that was starting to feel like a burden.
The press coverage was confusing. At one stage I was fielding daily requests from TV shows, radio stations, magazines, pr companies, film makers and prospective agents. Don't get me wrong, I'd enjoyed my first dalliance with the media – it fed my fragile ego – and I was delighted that most people seemed to love the project. Feedback from Twitter and Facebook was almost completely positive, generating some really significant conversations that served to inspire and encourage me to continue. For that reason alone I thought it worthwhile to build the audience as much as possible. But I started to feel that the real message behind Wearelucky was becoming obscured. There were lots of requests for help and initially I tried to reply to them all....perhaps I never explained Wearelucky as well as I could have done. But then again, maybe Wearelucky's flexibility and naivety were what made it exciting. I understand there is a lot of need in the world, really I do, but my little project isn't the answer. I've always found it difficult to decide who to help, which is why I asked others – The Lucky People – to decide where the cash went.
Anyway, I got a call from my mum and we started chatting about my auntie. She's married with three beautiful kids, but she'd fallen into financial trouble and it was causing an inevitable strain on her family. For the last three years she'd been racking up credit card debt, switching from one provider to the next, falling further behind with repayments as the debts constantly increased. The card companies were more than happy to give her what she wanted but couldn't afford. She hadn't squandered the money on luxury items or used it to feed an addiction – the money had gone on the kids: the odd school trip, a pair of football boots, a party dress for a special occasion, driving lessons for the eldest....things that all the other kids seemed to enjoy. My auntie didn't want her children to miss out, but the financial implications were really taking hold.
And so there it was, staring me right in the face. The perfect way to bring things full circle. I'd started Wearelucky by practicing on friends and family because I was too shy to approach anyone else. It was so obvious – my mum should be the last Lucky Person. There was no need to ask where the cash would go...
My mum cleared the debt, put a little in the coffers for the next time and - more importantly - promised to help my auntie make sure the same thing wouldn't happen again. She's trying to help her get a job (no easy task following my auntie's long-term disability) and I'm so proud of my mum for the emotional and financial support she's providing. I'm lucky to come from a family that has tight bonds, a shared sense of responsibility and isn't afraid to confront these difficult issues. Yep, this felt really good. Like the best parts of Wearelucky always did.
As for the future, I have one or two ideas about what to do with Wearelucky. This part is definitely done...but I think there's scope to reach out further and create something really special. I've been distracted recently, but now I'm concentrating on making the next stage of Wearelucky come true. It's going to be fun, but it'll need hard work, dedication......and a whole lot of luck.
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