December 2014 was a rough month for us. December started well after we got some extra money from our mortgage and a bonus from work. We were excited to put that money into savings, and maybe buy a new computer. But then two days later, I took our car to the dealership for a routine 90,000 mile-service. It was then we found out that the car needed a lot of repairs: it was leaking water, the brakes were almost gone, and the altenator (the thing that charges the battery) was failing, etc.
The repair costs were very expensive. We had to use the extra money from work and the mortgage. Fortunately, the car runs much better now (the brakes were getting weak), but it was frustrating to lose all that money just to fix the car.
Then, later in the month we had a leak in our roof during a bad rainstorm. We moved into this house 5 years ago after we came back from Ireland, and never had this problem before.
That night, as we worried about the leaky roof,1 my wife and I felt really frustrated. Just when we had some good fortune, bad fortuned happened and took it away. My wife was having her final Yakudoshi year (atoyaku 後厄), and we thought maybe it was a curse or something.
I thought about the First Noble Truth (仏教の四諦, bukkyō no shitai) of Buddhism: Life is marked with suffering.
In layman’s terms, this means that life sometimes kicks you in the groin for no good reason:
Life is not always bad. Sometimes it is very nice. But sooner or later, this kind of thing will happen.
But then I read some good articles about bad luck and supersition. Both articles talk about how two people might experience the same bad luck, but interpret it differently. One person will stay positive and not give up, while another person will moan and complain about their bad luck. One is optimistic, the other is fatalistic.
The lesson, I think, is that one has to take responsibility when bad things happen. My wife and I talked about the problems in December, and we realized that we were lucky to have the extra money at that time. If not, we would we would be in trouble. It also reminded us that we have to be more careful about our budget and savings. This means, being prepared for the next time life kicks us in the groin. 😉
So, when bad things happen in life, one should be prepared, but also one shouldn’t blame bad luck and such. There’s always something a person can do to be ready for next time.
1 The problem was that there was too much debris from the neighbor’s tree on our roof, and the water built and leaked through. Once we removed the debris, we had no more leaks.