Toasting Optimism on St. Patrick’s Day: Luck, Hope, and Hard Work

It’s been a year…One year ago (tomorrow) that we were issued “Shelter-In-Place” from Santa Clara County. I had no idea what the terms “Shelter-In-Place” or “Social Distancing” meant. I could certainly pick up on the context clues, but I had to Google them both at one point to fully grasp the concept.

How many of you were in the same situation?

We’ve become very educated on a lot of virus-based lingo over the past year: “Stay-At-Home,” “Self-Isolate,” “Flatten the Curve,” “Quarantine,” “Virulent Variants.”

The list is exhausting. The pandemic has been exhausting.

Have you been able to stay optimistic?

March has always been one of my favorite months. It’s the official end of the long winter. It’s the celebration of my Irish ancestry. There’s a change in the way the sun hits your face in the northern hemisphere. Spring blooms start to show their colors. Life begins again.

I can’t help but be optimistic. Life for the trees is beginning again. And, I believe life for us is beginning again as well.


purple petaled flower field

“Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile. It can be blackened by fear and superstition.”

-Bernard Beckett

Noah and I have been fortunate, and we’re grateful. We’ve stayed healthy and happy, but we’ve lost two family members, a few friends, and several acquaintances this year. It’s not easy to look at the bright side of life when you see so many people hurting, so much loss, and so much genuine despair. However, I believe it’s possible to feel pain and to grieve while maintaining optimism about the future.

Optimism is the core belief that the future will be good. This core belief is vital for mental health, and has a rich set of physiological benefits as well.

Sure, there will be pain. There will be setbacks. But, will the world be better in the future?

Maybe during the pandemic, we have more optimism than we did in the past! Will things get better than they are today? Hopefully we all believe that they will.

When you’re struggling to find optimism and see the light at the end of this very long tunnel, try this exercise. It’s certainly helped me face the day and continue to take steps to move in the right direction.


green plants on black soil

“The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act.”

-Barbara Sher

This week, we’ll enjoy the annual corned beef and hash, shepherds pie, soda bread and pint of Guinness. We’ll look for rainbows and dream of leprechaun tricksters. We’ll dress in green, but we’ll avoid pinching due to social distancing regulations. 😉

We’ll try to harness the “Luck of the Irish.”

It made me question where this phrase originated. We may think of our St. Patrick’s Day visions of leprechauns, pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, and other superstitions. And, yes, Ireland has a good amount of superstition and folklore.

However, when you look at the real history of the Irish, luck doesn’t seem to be on their side. The Great Famine, slave labor, racial slurs, English betrayal and genocide, disease, poverty – I mean – things have been pretty bleak.

The phrase actually originated during the gold rush in California. The Irish miners were pretty consistently striking gold. And, because they were Irish, it surely couldn’t be because of their intellect, engineering abilities, land knowledge, or work ethic. Therefore, it must’ve just been “dumb” luck. Yet another cultural slur/dig. We’re pretty good at those in ‘Murica. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Can we take this idea of the “luck of the Irish” and apply it to our current circumstances? So many of us have lost everything: family members, homes, jobs, positions, friends, and financial security. Like the Irish during the Great Famine and gold mining days, many are feeling the truth of famine, the lack of care for their lives, hard labor that’s paying far less than their market value just to afford a roof over their heads, and racial and cultural slurs and bigotry at all ends of the spectrum.

What did the Irish do? They worked harder. They grounded themselves with a strong community of like-minded outsiders. They moved to places where they could start anew and enjoy freedom. They pushed forward against any and all odds. They suffered and struggled and worked to make life better for future generations. And I, for one, am deeply grateful for that.

Now, it’s our turn. Can we work hard enough for the future to earn our “luck” (not only for ourselves, but also for our future generations and neighbors)?


shallow focus of sprout

“Hope is the most evil of evils because it prolongs man’s torment.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Hope has been, perhaps, the most difficult mindset to keep alive. Hope demands trust. Hope needs expectations. Hope can be dangerous.

I don’t know how many times during the pandemic that I’ve “hoped” to be able to do something.

Surely we can travel by July 2020…Nope….

I’d like to go grab food at this restaurant I’ve loved since I was a little girl tonight…Nope…Shuttered…

I’d like to go to the store to pick up some paper towels and Lysol spray – HAH!

Resetting expectations has become a part of the daily routine. It’s hard to be hopeful for anything when everything in life is so fluid and changing at such rapid paces.

There’s still something that we can hold onto in the shifting sands.

We can hold onto the hope that our communities will persevere. Things may look different, but human harmony will continue.

When concerts were shut down, musicians started performing online. When restaurants were forced to close their dining, they pivoted to serve everyone in their homes. When businesses were forced to close, they created work-at-home environments as best as they could. When schools shut their physical doors, many were able to open an online platform within three days.

The ground was constantly in motion, but humans prevailed and did amazing things.

I’ll be getting my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine next week. I’m seeing hope. I’m working towards regaining some luck. I’m keeping my optimism.

Next year on St. Patrick’s Day, things will be different. Different than they were before. Different than they are this week. And, optimism, luck, and hope say that it’ll be a lot better.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – May you enjoy all the “Luck of the Irish.”

Other At-Home (or Near Home) Ideas!!!


Noah and Majhon

Leave a Reply