The Clover brings good luck, and things going your way. But this sweet state of affairs can't be relied on to just happen - like anything else, if you don't work on maintaining your luck, it'll decay and turn sour. So the next post in our series looks at making your own luck. It's another term for, basically, having your shit together. People as a whole aren't terribly good at this, and throw in executive dysfunction and it becomes even more difficult.
Luck, in the sense I'm talking about, isn't about winning the lottery or having a movie star become your bestie because you removed a thorn from her paw. It's about having a life that works; that runs smoothly, with things ticking over as they should and no unexpected surprises. Unexpected surprises are in the main a bad thing, and to be avoided. Which they can be, at least in part.
I'm no expert on this - my life is much less a flaming ball of chaos than it used to be but it's still a long way from perfect - but here's how I approach it. I break my shit-together-havingness down into three steps: the self, the stuff, and the others:
The self is about having your own caboose in order: clothes washed, teeth brushed, hair combed, fed and watered and any applicable meds taken. Mock if you will, if I don't make a conscious effort at this stuff, it doesn't always get done. Going further than that, it's about knowing what sets off your sensory sensitivities, and finding ways to work around them. It's about knowing how much sleep, water and food you need (you need, as opposed to what a book or your Mum says you need) to function at your best and figuring out how to make sure you get it. For instance, I know I need 9-11 hours of sleep a night to be properly functional the next day. But I don't know how many times I've stayed up til 2am watching QI on Youtube, knowing I have to be up for work in six hours time. That's poor self-maintenance, and I feel it the next day when I'm a stimmy bewildered mess.
It's not about having designer clothes or a ridiculous Pinterest hairstyle, the body of a marathon runner and the mind of a Rhodes scholar. It's just about making sure your personal needs are met, so you're comfortable and at your best. I have less sensory problems, better motor skills and body awareness, am more competent socially and most importantly feel better when these needs are met.
It also influences how the rest of the world perceives and treats you. It may not be fair, but it's a thing. If you're clean and vaguely presentable, you'll be perceived more favourably by those who are in a position to be useful to you.
The stuff is about taking care of your things, not just physical things but skills, data and electronic information as well. When did you last backup your blog or your Flickr stream? Change your passwords? If you have really important data - a novel in progress, say, or coding you're doing for a client - is it backed up offsite so it's safe if your home is damaged or you have to evacuate?
The main kind of luck we have in relation to computers is bad luck - I once had a gecko commit hari-kiri inside a PC, fry the hard drive and ruin the whole motherboard - so having your stuff backed up is a great way to ameliorate that. Also get it organised - it's no use having the most awesome photos in the world if you can't find them because they're in a folder called "stuff" with 50,000 other files.
It's also about being organised in the tangible world, as well. I'm not a particularly neat or orderly person, but when there's shit everywhere you're more likely to lose things, be late because you've lost your keys, or miss out on opportunities because you've lost a phone number or forgotten an appointment.
The others is perhaps the most important but unsurprisingly the one I struggle with most. This is about maintaining your relationships with other people; not losing touch with those you are fond of or who are useful to you, deepening relationships which have the potential to go further, and making new ones possible. I'm not the best person to advise on this, not just because I'm autistic but because I have a lot of relationships which are currently all sorts of lapsed and at the stage where I'm not sure whether to even try to resuscitate them or move on and start again. But it is something to be aware of, because this stuff doesn't just happen - it needs to be made to happen.
Photo: Red clover by franthony on The Morgue File, public domain image.
This is part of an ongoing series. If you're wondering what it's all about, start here for more info.