I only trust my fortune cookies if they have my favorite number in the “lucky numbers” on the bottom.
And when waiting to hear about a job, a contest, an application to a workshop, I try to keep it as secret as possible for fear of jinxing the result: you can’t be too careful about counting the chickens before the eggs hatch.
When I played basketball in eighth grade, I always dribbled the ball five times, then four times fast, five times in a row, before taking a free throw because, for reasons unknown, I like the number 45. Like a secret Morse code to the shot gods, a prayer that only I knew how to communicate.
One year in college, I was convinced the warm-up song I’d listened repetitively had a lot to do with an unexpectedly poor performance during a championship track meet. The next year, I got a new song, and did well.
And to appease my boyfriend’s family, I always knock on wood when we talk about worst-case scenarios. If someone spills the salt, over the left shoulder it goes – don’t look back! – just to be safe.
I’m not sure why I choose to believe some superstitions over others. My rational self knows that they don’t truly influence events, outcomes, or people.
I might say “fingers crossed” when hoping for good news, but I don’t believe that crossing my fingers will have any influence on the outcome.
I don’t fear Friday the 13th, or balk at the full moon, or think that the retrograde of Mercury has anything to do with how my day, week, year, or life turn out. Those are all under my control.
But somehow, those little things that I do try – the fortune cookie with “45” on the bottom, keeping potential good news under wraps until it’s true – give me a little boost of needed confidence in situations of self-doubt. It’s like asking the universe for a little sign that yeah, this is what’s supposed to happen, and everything will turn out how it’s supposed to, even if it doesn’t go your way.
And hey, it doesn’t affect anything but my mindset, and there isn’t any harm in that.