ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

My Own Share of Beating Some Odds in Life

Updated on April 14, 2018
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

Plunging into It and Leaving All Concerns Behind
Plunging into It and Leaving All Concerns Behind

We Get Born like That: No Credit to Be Taken

If you asked a daring person what makes them think they can, they might just give you a devilish smirk and say: "I don't think I can - I know I can". I am quite familiar with that kind of crazy mentality, because I happen to be one. Not in every area of life though, but selectively---yes.

In more instances than I could remember, I didn't ask for any assurance, any support from anyone, or any encouragement to throw myself head on into uncertainty with a policy that could have inspired that song "Que Serra, Serra". As you can tell, I am not inclined to go through life asking "What if...", and so far I have no regrets, only some mistakes to laugh at.

Those moves that turned out without expected rewards contained a seed of a lecture to be learned, and my life school had quite a few of those. Have I finally graduated from that school? No, I hope not, there are some more daring things to be done before the game is over, with some more mistakes to be made.

Well, they say: "We are not foolish if we make mistakes, we are foolish if we repeat the same ones." So, if some of my future daring steps---small as they may be considering my age---end up being mistakes, at least I'll try to make them fresh, not duplicates of some old ones.

California, Here We Come!
California, Here We Come!

Our Gypsy Mentality

Let me share with you a few of such stories from my daring collection of memories. The first that comes to mind is the one about my decision in 1981 to sell everything and move to Los Angeles, and I don't mean from San Diego but from Toronto, Canada. That was to be our second emigration, the first being the one from our native Croatia to Canada 13 years earlier - when we also quit our jobs, and without a job waiting for us set our foot into the unknown.

O.K., this time it was supposed to be a little different---although not entirely smart, as it turned out. My wife had a well settled sister in L.A., and with her sponsorship papers being in order, as well as all other documents, everything looked pretty much straightforward. Except that it was not.

We already had our plane tickets booked, quit our jobs, sold out or gave away everything of our household - when we found out that at the initial visit to the American embassy the clerk missed circling two necessary documents that had to be obtained from Croatia.

One was about my completed military service there, and the other about my clear criminal record. To make it worse, we got one week to get those documents, or our case would be postponed for 3 months.

So, what do you do? Our small savings didn't allow me to take a plane to Croatia. Those were the moments when I would get yet another chance to see how it was simply alien to my nature to despair---as in my guts I just knew that there must have been a solution, and I just didn't know it as yet.

By the time we came home from the embassy, I already knew what to do. I phoned our folks in Croatia, and ask them to get those papers for me. Then I instructed them to go to the airport and find a "nice looking person" ready to board on the first plane to Toronto, ask them if they would be willing...; then to give us a call and describe the person and tell us about their due arrival time.

Well, it all went just as I planned. Fast-forwarding here---we stayed in L.A. for some months, moved to a friend's house in Portland, Oregon, went back to L.A., and back to Canada. How is that for a gypsy mentality? O.K., I know you got some other names for it which you won't use out of a sheer politeness.

It was a recession time in America, and with some other unforeseen circumstances, we landed back here to start our household again "from the spoon up". Crazy? Not really, just a valuable experience also mixed with some unforgettable memories which we would never have had if we had just got anchored at one Canadian address and stayed there.

Night in the Woods is Touching those Hidden Corners of Our Soul
Night in the Woods is Touching those Hidden Corners of Our Soul

From Bed to a Mountain Top

Back in my teenage years, on a hot and hazy summer night I would toss and turn in bed, until it became too much of a challenge of thinking about a possible alternative.

I still don't know why I didn't opt for merely a walk around the block, but got that insane idea to take a streetcar to the foothills of the wooded mountain and climb it to the top.

Well, I had done it many times, and I was reasonably familiar with that somewhat tricky trail through the woods---but never at night when the moon was providing the only light. To the defense of my sanity, I did drop the silly idea a few times before I finally succumbed.

Those two hours of brisk climbing that it would have normally taken me to get to the top stretched to some three and a half, while I was careful enough not to get lost in woods. But I made it to the top.

There I sat down, facing the lit up panorama of the city far below, wiping sweat off my face and neck, and shaking my head with a smile of accomplishment. Then and there I understood that person who---asked why he wanted to climb a mountain--- said: "Because it was there".

Freezing a Myth to Its Death

On a certain very cold winter day in my late teens, my cousin, a strange dude--- actually a very strange dude with some traces of a schizoid nature---mentioned to me how he was writing a script for an "experimental" movie.

He was a member of a cinema-club, and that's what those movies were called, more like todays little longer videos. They were silent, with just a background music, and had a purpose to metaphorically depict some life truisms.

So he was telling me about it, not forgetting to mention that he doubted that he would be able to find a crazy guy to play the part, because according to his script such a sucker would have to be dressed only in a white t-shirt and white jeans in that freezing weather. Well, I must have ignored that part or something because I heard my mouth blurting out: "I have a white t-shirt and white jeans".

It was snowing that day, and the temperature was way bellow freezing, when our little group of a girl, my partner in that act of insanity, my cousin, a makeup dude, and myself braved to a meadow behind the city cemetery covered by two feet deep snow at some places. They were well camouflaged in several layers of winter clothing, and still shaking and pulling their heads into shoulders turtle style.

It took us about an hour to do the "movie". At the end, at a sudden spike of spitefulness toward weather - but mostly to show off my very hairy chest, I took my shirt off and laid my body on someone's grave covered with snow. Getting my deserved applause I got up, turned theatrically towards the grave and bowed with an apology for disturbing.

Other than for the effect of showing off, in that spiteful moment I was also debunking a myth. Namely, around my puberty time I was twice very sick on my lungs - and I don't mean just a pneumonia. Ever since, my grandma being my guardian angel would watch me like a hawk at winter time to make sure that I was putting on enough of clothes "to protect my sensitive lungs".

For an irony I chose to break that spell by laying my body on a grave - but well, what can I say, that was my way of making use of those crazy teenage hormones.

After We See an Opportunity, Let's Allow Our Loose Feet to Take Us from Here to There
After We See an Opportunity, Let's Allow Our Loose Feet to Take Us from Here to There

See Your Own Crossing Stones

I see myself as just an ordinary fellow without anything heroic about me. These stories had a modest purpose to show how it doesn't take more than a liberated spike of daring in guts to say "Yes, I can!" and then do things that we would never do if we always asked for a counsel of our sensible and cautious mind.

We could metaphorically compare it to an act of crossing a creek with some stones sticking out from water and forming a sort of irregular line stretching across it. The only way to do it right is to take a little sprint and by hardly touching those stones with our feet make it to the other side. Should we step on each one and pause, "planning our next step", we would likely end up falling in the water.

That's how I see some situations in life. So, go ahead, recognize those sticking stones in your own situations that are testing your metal---and then imagine me, if you care, on the other side waiting to welcome you with an applause.

For, change is the most delicious spice of life---if not the very ignition spark of it.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Hi, Allen my friend, your comments are my dearest reward and a recognition to my modest path that I chose for myself more than half a century ago. Honestly, nothing gives me more pleasure than realization that some unknown soul many miles away is pulsating in the same rhythm with mine in this celebration of life and wisdom. - Be well my friend.

    • Aliswell profile image


      2 years ago from Iowa

      Val, my how I truly enjoy, and relate to so many of your Hubs!

      You Sir, are a Teacher of both the written word-- And the 'Lessons of Life'!

      Thank you for all your thoughts and thoughtfulness as you share with everyone in cyberspace!

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      You are my hero, Michael, and I mean it! You are of that rare breed of spirits who built empires and explored the unknown! Hang on, young man, you are not done yet!

    • Michael-Milec profile image


      2 years ago

      Thank you Vladimir for being right. In my recollection of over 3/4 of century 'pioneering' through countries, continents, vocations and trades, what ever I tried I have conquered , though through many sufferings and trials...

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Congratulations, Michael! Now there is one more of us who "can".

    • profile image

      Michael Milec 

      2 years ago

      Oops, let me try again: Agree, " Yes, I tried." The final answer ," Yes,I can."

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      I didn't mention "rescue", Michael; and those who have missed the stone would have to try again until they make it - so that I can do the only thing that I did mention: "congratulate them". Anyway, those who would miss the stone would not qualify to say "Yes, I can", but only "Yes, I tried". Agree?

    • Michael-Milec profile image


      2 years ago

      Delightful read, Sir.

      Would require a 'man of his word.' "Yes I can"- I've done it time and time again. In this case would be definitely successful while you on the other side might come to a rescue as I jumping miss the stone.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)