Coined from the duet of my oldest sister and our cousin when they were in their twenties trying to navigate the dating game (they’re both married now).
Last Thursday, I went to a birthday celebration for an old friend from high school (the first time I met him, he and his friend were hiding in a bush outside a busted house party, where six patrol cars and a helicopter overhead were in place for a full-scale raid) at a ritzy restaurant in the more hipster/gentrified pocket of North Orange County. I hadn’t seen some of this motley crew in years: just a bunch of kids in our twenties, some of us still with our parents, some of us struggling to pay rent elsewhere, trying to design our futures to adapt to the times without compromising our dreams—a fool’s errand. The No Luck Club.
“Nothing good in life comes easy,” we’ve been told that a hundred times before. The good things in life we accomplish are defined by where we enjoy the suffering, where we enjoy the struggle.
– Mark Manson, The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself Today
Coincidentally, birthday boy touched on the same concept on the way to the restaurant, right before he lost all consciousness drowning in birthday dranks: “You have to enjoy the journey in life. It’s not really so much about the end game. You wanna have goals—goals are important—but you gotta enjoy the process of getting to them, however much of a rollercoaster it may be. The journey is much more interesting than the goals you set for yourself. Don’t forsake the journey. It’s important. I am now 27 and just putting my dreams into form, and you’ve got time. Just relax. Let it happen. Work hard, and keep on pushing. No one wants to give you anything; you’ve gotta take what you can get in this world.”
I circulated around our table and came across one of my [other] sister’s friends from elementary school. She’d been at a company for years; then, one day, the boss came in and said the company was done and everyone had to leave immediately. To keep herself afloat, she worked as a temp at a marketing company she hated, working under an ex-sportscar model—the executive assistant to the CEO—who made thrice the amount of money that she (my sister’s friend) made (most likely on the merit of all three of her surviving brain cells … too real?). “It’s hard out there, but I’m not going to settle. We’re young; we have time. I’m not ready to suck dick to get where I want to be.” She’s not quite there yet, but she’s on track, making her way uncompromisingly.
Another friend there was just laid off after 7 years by her company (“We’re going in a different direction”) without so much as a goodbye party (luckily, they’re required to give her severance, otherwise she wouldn’t have had that either). “It was heartbreaking, but that was such a toxic environment anyway. I’m actually relieved.” Now, she’s pursuing a graphic t-shirt company and eventually starting a recording studio with her boyfriend, the birthday boy.
And yesterday, my sister—the one with the babies—came back from appeals court to overturn the state’s decision not to give her unemployment after her company of 14 years let her go. “I’ll send you my decision in the mail. Happy Thanksgiving,” the judge told her. What a tease.
I don’t know if it’s comforting or disheartening that everyone seems to be treading water against the current, and loyalty doesn’t seem to count for much these days. But we’re a resilient bunch, and when our courage falters, there’s always alcohol (P.S. I broke my 9-day sobriety that night, but it was his birthday, and I restricted myself to only one cocktail and drank water the rest of the time…so that’s not bad. Come Thanksgiving, though, I’m gonna swan-dive in bottles of vino and resume my broody, artsy alcoholism à la the great writers of the Jazz Age).
What determines your success is “What pain do you want to sustain?”
Broke bitches don’t wait on miracles. We make our own. No luck, no money, but we’ve got balls of steel (figurative … literal?) and we’re not afraid to go [back] to prison.
Some people are wired for that sort of pain, and those are the ones who succeed.