I often tell people that I’ve been lucky in my career, lucky in love, lucky with how awesome my children and grandchildren are, and lucky in life generally. The last time I was talking to someone about my job and said that I had been really lucky, I stopped myself. While I have sometimes been lucky to be in the right place at the right time, I have worked my ass off to get where I am in my career. Luck? Nope. Hard work, dedication, respect, self-improvement, learning constantly–those are the things that have put me where I am in my career. Well, maybe now that I think about it I was lucky that I was fired from a job I held for 15 years and ended up floundering a bit until I took a temporary job at an international law firm in the word processing department, which turned into being a floater secretary, which turned into ending up at my female attorney’s desk when her secretary had extended jury duty and then was promoted to another position, leaving me assigned to her and working in a permanent position at the law firm. Maybe I was lucky that she was patient enough to teach me what I needed to know about litigation since I had spent the first 15 years of my career doing probate, estate planning, and corporate law. Maybe I was lucky that our personalities mesh so that we work well together. Maybe I was lucky that I accepted a huge cut in my salary just to work full time and learn a new specialty. Maybe I was lucky to love the thrill of litigation. Maybe I was lucky that she went to bat for me to get my salary up to where it should be. Maybe I was lucky that when she moved to new law firms, she asked me to go with her. And that could be where luck ends. From there, I worked hard to learn all I could about litigation, court filings, etc. so that I could do a good job. I worked hard to figure out my boss’s idiosyncrasies so that we could continue to work better together (and now it is 23 years later!). I worked hard to do the best job I could do with attorneys whom I respect and who respect me back and to continue learning and improving every day. I worked hard to be the best legal support professional I could be, including going to night school to get a paralegal degree, taking and passing several legal certification exams, continuing to attend CLE courses to keep learning ways to help me and my firm, joining professional associations (and being active) so that I could make valuable connections in the legal community, and showing up every day and busting my butt to do a good job.
Lucky in love? Maybe it was lucky that I went on my very first date with a boy from church and we double dated with an even cuter boy and his date. Maybe it was lucky that the cute boy actually liked me and eventually asked me out. Maybe it was lucky that we didn’t go to the same high school since our academic careers were very different. But, no, it wasn’t luck that has kept us together for 44 years–it is hard work and dedication to our marriage. It is ignoring the small annoyances and being thankful for the small things he does right. It is loving every single day–whether that means a quick peck when he comes home, cooking dinner every night (gluten free mind you!), putting dishes away, loading the dishwasher, washing the windshield of my car, checking tire pressures, whatever thing needs to be done for one person that the other person does.
Lucky with how my children and grandchildren are turning out? Maybe it was lucky that I didn’t go to jail for child abuse when my children were teenagers. Maybe it was lucky that we didn’t have much money, so I learned to give them time once in a while instead of things. Maybe it was lucky that my husband worked from home when they were in school. But, no, I worked hard to show my children that I loved them–no matter what. I worked hard to take a day off of work around their birthday to spend an entire day focused on them and doing things they were interested in (and have continued that tradition with my grandchildren). I worked hard to keep holiday traditions alive in our family including Santa footprints and timing multiple extended family celebrations.
So have I been lucky in life? Absolutely! But I’ve worked hard for what I have as well, it hasn’t been handed to me. Except by my husband–I’ve been pretty lucky there. But this life is hard work if you want it to be a good one. As they say, life is not a spectator sport. It is something to get up off the couch and enjoy. Do things that scare you. Do things that stretch you. Do the things that those you love want to do. Then, just maybe, you’ll be as lucky as I am.