Making deals with the universe


I often catch myself doffing my hat to solitary magpies, not able to take the chance that they won’t otherwise find a way to let their sorrow seep into my life. No-one’s yet picked me up on it, stopped and enquired exactly what it is I think I’m doing, and if they did I’m not entirely sure what I’d say.

It’s not the only superstition I buy into. Unless I absolutely have to, I’m really not fond of walking under ladders. I try to convince myself that I’m being ridiculous, that it’s no big deal if the pavement and scaffolding are configured in such a way that avoiding it’s impossible. But I can’t ignore the fact that my heart quickens slightly and I apologise silently to whoever or whatever it is that might be offended by my actions. For ages I had a thing with drain covers too, adjusting my path to avoid walking over three in a row. That was pretty tricky to keep up in London, though not as tricky as avoiding stepping on the cracks between the slabs, something which I have felt compelled to try to adhere to during the more anxious periods in my life.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, exams have always been a bit of a magnifier for this irrational behaviour. I can’t remember the exact details of the little rituals I’d enact to maximise my chances of success, but I still have the tiny, intricately decorated wooden elephant my Granny gave me as I was about to sit my GCSEs. It became an essential addition to my exam pencil case, watching me from the corner of my desk. I didn’t dare to see what would happen if it wasn’t there, though I knew deep down that any power it held was all in my mind.

I find it strange that I get sucked into this kind of superstitious behaviour, as on the whole I’d consider myself to be pretty rational. I’m not religious, feeling no presence of a greater being beyond humanity. And yet there must be something in my core that fears that the universe may one day turn on me, may decide that my luck has finally run out.

Because I know that I’m insanely lucky. Even on the days when I feel like everything is going wrong – maybe especially then – I cannot help but reflect on all the things that I am blessed with. If I did believe in a god, perhaps it would be him who I would thank. But as it is I’ll just go on making my little deals with the universe and trying to make the very best I can of this wonderful life I’ve been given.

Thank you to Sara at Mum turned Mom for inspiring this post with her prompt: Calvin: You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help (Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes)



8 thoughts on “Making deals with the universe

  1. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    I am neither religious nor particularly superstitious, and to a large extent I think we make a lot of our own luck through the choices that we make. BUT I am quite a believer in fate (perhaps strangely!), the whole ‘what’s for you won’t go by you’ thing. Too many things have happened in my life for me to feel otherwise, even looking back with the benefit of hindsight. And, I think if we appreciate what we have, we enable more good stuff. Thanks so much for linking with #ThePrompt x

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      I’ve been through big phases of believing in fate – certainly in my life things have fallen into place so perfectly it’s hard not to think they were destined somehow! But then I look at people who have a terrible time of it, both here and overseas, and I can’t believe that their destiny should be written so differently – either by a god or by the universe in general… It definitely makes me appreciate what I have, wherever it is it came from! x

  2. thenthefunbegan

    I like the mystique of the idea that luck exists – madly unlikely coincidences and serendipitous events – definitely makes life more interesting. And as for the talismans – well its true you are going to treasure an object more if you choose to believe that it’s imbued with magical properties! Funny how ancient superstitious beliefs about offending the gods have seeped into our otherwise rational modern lives. #The Prompt

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      I do find it really interesting how the most rational people can hold onto some of the oldest superstitions! Fascinating to think about the interplay of different times and value systems too – it’s one of the reason I love Neil Gaiman’s novels so much…

  3. Lou's Lake Views (@LLoopyLou)

    I’m not really superstitious, I don’t really believe in luck butI totally believe in fate., like you I am rational and logic tells me that I shouldn’t believe in that either! Btw love your Elephant, it is beautiful 🙂

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      When I was little my parents used to sing me ‘Que Sera, Sera’ – I sing it to Arthur now too and I reckon some of its fatalism has brushed off on me… I’ve certainly used the idea of fate to get me through some tough times, but when I’m feeling more in control I like to think I can shape my own destiny!


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