Let’s Talk Semantics

I’m taking this week and navigating slightly off-topic so I hope you’ll bear with me…and join the conversation.  I have spent a lot of time over the years thinking about this.

I’m not speaking directly about horses today but our conversation roughly relates…

Semantics.

What you say and write has meaning and the way you present it matters.

Since we all come from different walks of life your intended message can sometimes be taken out of context or misconstrued.

I am certainly not perfect in my grammar, my writing, or my own communication.  We could all improve ourselves; hence our conversation today.

This conversation we’re having today is something that comes up often for me…and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

In the past, I have often been told I’m lucky.

I was lucky to get the job I have now. 

I am lucky to have a horse.

I am lucky to have my horses at home. 

To me, that couldn’t be further from the truth….and in my perspective inadvertently offensive.  The people who told me these things didn’t intend their message to be offensive.  Perhaps they were secretly jealous or envious, but they didn’t mean to cause offense.  This I know.

I brushed these phrases off.  It’s “whatever.”

But let’s chat about it for real today.


Lucky; adjective;

Happending by chance

Producing or resulting in good by chance

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

According to Merriam Webster, the keyword in lucky is “by chance.”

  1. I did not get my job by chance
  2. I do not have horses by chance
  3. I do not have my horses home by chance

I got my job because I went to school, got my degree, interviewed well and earned it.

I have a horse because I worked hard, went to school, got a good job, and managed my money.

I have my horses home because we budgeted, sacrificed, and worked to make it happen.

These things are NOT by chance and whether intended or not using the word lucky seems to negate the work and sacrifice that went into making these things happen.

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So what word would you use for this?

Successful?  Deserving?  Hard-earned?

Sure but it’s not very humble and it almost comes across arrogant.

My word of choice is fortunate.

 I feel fortunate daily for what I have in my life.  Thankful.  Blessed.  I earned it…but it doesn’t mean I have to be arrogant about it.

Merriam Webster doesn’t exactly agree…

Fortunate; adjective;

Bringing some good thing not forseen as certain

Receiving some unexpected good

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The true definition of fortunate may seem similar to lucky…but for me, they are very different.


In my life experience, I have personally defined lucky to be just what Merriam-Webster describes…BY CHANCE.

You are lucky to win the lottery.

You are lucky if you are in the right place at the right time.

I find “lucky” to be grossly overused in today’s world.  Instead, I choose to use the word “fortunate.”

In my experience, I feel there has been a semantic shift, or progression, in the meaning of fortunate.  Perhaps it’s just me but I don’t think I’m the only person who would agree.  Fortunate isn’t necessarily lucky or by chance.  Fortunate (for me) is a positive outcome, but one that has been assisted by hard work and preparation.

Reality


I am LUCKY to have found Tiger.  Luck had me looking for a new horse at the right time and luck had my path coincide with his previous owners through not one but two separate contacts.

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I am LUCKY to have found Bardi.  Luck had me looking for a dog and have the right conversation with the right person at the right time.

BardiJunmp



I am FORTUNATE to have horses.

I have wanted them since I was a child.  I made difficult decisions through life…turned down a horse when I was 15 to buy a car and get a job.  I chose to go to school and get a degree first, get a job, and start my career.  I established my career before getting my first horse at age 26.

I don’t have a physical vision board but having horses was always part of my plan and was always on my mind.

20190602_014032

I am FORTUNATE to have my horses at home.  I work hard for it.  It’s daily work. It means no fancy vacations (for now), it means no fancy beverages, no monthly hair appointments, no fancy clothing or shopping sprees.  We budgeted.  We saved. We made it happen.

20171206_094658


I want to reiterate I know that people who say “you’re lucky” don’t often intend it to be derogatory and I don’t take major offense by it….water off a duck’s back.  But I find the conversation to be intriguing.

I feel both lucky and fortunate for many things in my life but I do differentiate the two things.

I am thankful every day and count my blessings often.


YOUR TURN

Do you differentiate the terms lucky and fortunate?
If you do, do they align with my own interpretation?

Do you prefer to use different terminology?

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Awesome, the eloquence of conversation (language) has been so lost for so long. There is a really old movie “Sarah plain & tall” & I love the way they speak, not a lot said but what is said is considered. Have a fulfilling weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think fortunate is a much better word. Lucky is so random. I think that we make choices and dozens maybe hundreds of choices lead us to be in the right place for something to happen or to come to us. But it is the work of all those choices that made it possible. Have a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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