Where the Hell Have I Been?

Where have I been for the last nearly three years? Living. Some days, barely, but I’ve been living and getting through this thing called life. I find that my last post was in June 2020. I think the pandemic really messed with my mind and I really neglected my blogs. But here’s what I have been up to:

  • Grandbaby #2 and I closed Las Vegas down at the start of the pandemic. We were enjoying the trip she chose to celebrate her high school graduation. We went even though things were starting to get crazy (or different) because of COVID. We took masks and hand sanitizer and drove to Las Vegas. We did things, took pictures, and had a great time. As we were preparing to leave, shows were closing, streets were empty, and people were staying home. We basically shut Vegas down.
At CSI: The Experience in Las Vegas
  • We were quarantined at home for my job. I learned to efficiently work from home. I saved a two-hour commute every day. I also learned that I really missed my human connection. We ended up going into the office three days a week, which solved that problem. It was a real surprise to me that I would not be ecstatic just staying by myself 24/7.
  • Grandbaby #3 graduated from high school in May 2020 with a drive-up graduation. It was at least broadcast so I could watch it live! We didn’t go on his celebration trip for another year, but in July 2021, we went to his chosen location—San Diego. He hadn’t ever seen the Pacific Ocean, so we did that first. We did a whole lot—museums, Hop-On/Hop-Off bus trips, great food, we even used our Airbnb host’s amazing tickets to a Padres game. It was, once again, an amazing opportunity to spend time with the adult version of the grandchild I watched being born.

  • I went to Chicago with two friends for our NALS Conference. We spent extra days exploring the amazing city and riding around on the Hop On/Hop Off bus to see even more. We saw a lot, ate some amazing food, and learned a lot. And we celebrated friendship, which I appreciated even more.
  • My mom suffered from dementia for many years. It was hard for me to watch and even harder when she forgot who I was. Dementia is such a horrible, ugly disease. It also forgot to tell my mom’s heart to continue pumping and she died rather unexpectedly in September 2021. I felt like I had lost her years before with her dementia, but she was there, humming Frere Jacques when she was happy—and she hummed it a lot, so at least she was happy even though I was not. I didn’t see her as much as I should have because it was painful and I regret that, but I can’t change it.
  • One way of dealing with my mom’s death was that I got another tattoo. It was bigger than I initially anticipated, but I love it. It reminds me that the pieces of my heart that are gone from this earth come back to me as butterflies that I see almost daily, so I know they are all watching out for me and make me want to make them proud.

  • Once Mom was gone, we tried to do more with my Dad, since he and my sister had been her caretakers for years with no time for themselves. We went on family trips to the casino, celebrated Christmas with almost all of the kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids present, went out to dinner, and I listened to a whole lot of stories I hadn’t heard before. And then he got COVID. He hated—HATED—being in the hospital and just wanted to go home. Unfortunately, his body wasn’t producing enough oxygen to make that possible and he passed in February 2022. It crushed me. I was now an orphan. I wasn’t done listening to his stories. I wasn’t done doing the things he wanted to do (like visiting the town in Illinois where he went to elementary school). I wasn’t done showing him how much I appreciated his sacrifices for the life I had. I just wasn’t done. I still have moments where my eyes tear up—especially when I see a butterfly.
  • Grandbaby #4 graduated from high school in May 2021. I also got to watch his graduation ceremony live online as they had a limit on the number of tickets for each graduate. We went on his celebration trip in November 2022. We did what we titled the “Amusement Park Tour.” We drove to California and spent two days in Disneyland/California Adventure, then on to Knott’s Berry Farm, and finally to Universal Studios. We had so much fun on all the rides. I even surprised him by going on rides he didn’t think I would go on (I may be old, but I’m not dead and why the heck not?). I was a little bit worried in Knott’s Berry Farm when they made me leave my glasses in the bin for a couple of the rides because they could have flown off, but those rides were awesome!

  • After celebrating our firm’s 9th anniversary and thinking ahead of how we would celebrate our 10th anniversary, I found out that the founders decided to close the firm as of September 30, 2022. I was lucky enough to work there until December 31, 2022, getting everything buttoned up and transferred out. I’m still doing some stuff closing things up (I’m not sure it will ever end), but on my own schedule. I was unbelievably sad to see this chapter of my life end. I was planning to go part-time in January 2023 since I was eligible for Social Security and wanted to slow down and enjoy life, but on my terms. This changed the plan I had in my head.
  • So in January 2023, I started my own business working with attorneys I had worked with throughout my 40+ year career doing what I do—just from my house. I’m not as busy as I thought I would be, but I’m finding that that is not a bad thing.
  • We celebrated our annual BFF Christmas in January 2023 in Las Vegas. We decided to get dressed up and go to Giada’s for dinner one night. We talked a lot about doing it every time we were there, so we finally did it! And Giada was eating dinner there that night! Our waiter told us that she enjoyed taking pictures and chatting with customers, so we ate slowly and found an opportunity to chat with her for just a couple of minutes and get a picture or two! The food was amazing and Giada was wonderful! We will definitely go back! And I’ve heard a rumor they’re building one here in Arizona, so we may spend more of our monthly dinners there!
  • When I decided to work part-time, I also decided to go on a cruise from Athens into the Adriatic Sea to visit places like Dubrovnik and Corfu. Again, Facebook ads enticed me with Virgin Voyages—an adults-only cruise. The thought of no kids running and splashing in the pool and parents yelling at them while I was sitting and enjoying adult beverages by the pool was the thing that made the decision for me. I upgraded my room to have a huge balcony with a hammock. My travel buddy is coming with me and we are so very excited about our destinations, the food, the drinks, and all the fun we will have! Watch this blog for more about that!
  • Three of my siblings decided to go on a cruise to Alaska, so of course I had to say yes. My husband is going with me on this one and so far we have all scheduled the world’s largest and longest zipline and some amazing dinners!
  • THEN I am going with my sister-in-law on a cruise from Venice to Athens so I will catch all the Greek Islands I will miss the first time! I’m looking forward to spending time with my sister-in-law (who has been part of my life for over 50 years) in one of my favorite places (Venice) and exploring many new places.
  • I got another tattoo that says “One more” to remind me that everything I do could be the last time—every dinner with my friends could be the last time, every visit with my grandbabies and my kids could be the last one, every vacation I take could be the last one. So it is a reminder to live every single experience as if it were the last one and do the things I want to do and be the person I want to be and enjoy the experience as much as possible. I also recently decided that if someone hugs me, I will be the last to let go. I will let my love for them flow through the hug. I will hug as if it is the last time I will hug them.

My plan for the future is to enjoy my life, treat each day as the last one, and share all of that with you by blogging more frequently, including blogging during my many trips this summer/fall. Stay tuned for how my life is going in this second half of my 60s and all the things I’ve learned and continue to learn along the way!

The Non-Hugger’s Epiphany

Today must mark 60 days to my next birthday. I know that because today is the 4th anniversary of 60 Is The New 60 blog! Four years ago today, I got the brilliant idea to spend the 60 days until my 60th birthday posting my life lessons in this blog. And I did it. And I loved doing it. It is really hard to believe that was four years ago now and I have not been good about keeping a regular posting schedule. It’s not that I don’t have material–life is full of great material–it is that I’m making other choices. And those choices are not so great, but they are choices that I’m making right now.

About the first month or so of quarantine, I loved it. I was getting projects done around the house, I was saving a two hour a day commute, I was actually reading a BOOK, I was having more fun cooking, but I was ignoring my blogs, I was spending a lot of time on social media and watching television. I spent a ton of time on TikTok, which is not all bad because I follow some awesomely motivational people there. But I was ignoring things that required me to sit down and actually do my own work. I needed to figure out why.

I still thought I was doing great! I think the turning point was when I watched the videos of my grandson’s graduation parade that I wanted to attend, but couldn’t, and tears were streaming down my face as I was thinking about all the things I was missing in my life due to the pandemic. I missed my kids, I missed my grandbabies, I missed my friends, I missed my coworkers, and I even missed going into the damn grocery store! I missed real humans. We have done lots of virtual meetings with the kids/grandkids and with my friends and coworkers, but it is not the same. That’s when I had my epiphany–I miss hugs!

Until about 10 years ago, I was NOT a hugger (think Dirty Dancing and “this is my dance space”). But my friends are huggers and you can’t be around huggers and not become one. And that is what I miss most. Sure, I hug my husband daily (and we’ve been doing that for nearly 50 years), but that’s my familiar “I love you forever” hug. And that’s totally different from the hug of a small grandchild where you have to bend far over one day that turns into the hug of a teenager the next and the hug of a full-grown adult the day after that that means “I love you to the moon and back.” It’s different from the hug of a friend who knows all your secrets, who has traveled the world with you, who you’ve had amazing adventures with that means “I love you and will see you soon.” It is different from the hug of parents and siblings who don’t do a lot of hugging that means “I love you always.”

My biggest hugfest–my NALS conference–is virtual this year so I won’t get those hugs either. And I will really miss that. I guess I am definitely a reformed non-hugger. So trust me when I say that once I start hugging again, I may not let you go. I just want you to be prepared for that!

Quarantined And Loving It!

First, a few things about me:

  • I’m a bit of an introvert;
  • I’m in several of the risk categories (diabetes, asthma, “elderly”); and
  • I’m really a serious introvert.

I always thought I was more of an introvert and this quarantine has proved that that is absolutely true. I am working half time and my husband is still working at his shop, so I am alone (with the dogs, parakeet, and parrot) from about 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. And it is blissful. Well, the working part is a little stressful, but the rest of it is amazing.

So how am I spending my time and what have I learned in this process? I’m doing several different things which are helping me not go crazy.

I’m going to bed at my normal time (which is later than it should be) and waking without an alarm just about exactly 8 hours later. That must mean I need 8 hours of sleep and I certainly haven’t been getting that . . . for several years. I will do better at getting enough sleep.

In most of my “off” time, I’m doing all the “must do” organizing/cleaning out/trashing tasks I should have been doing for the last few years but didn’t make time for. So far I have cleaned out and organized my closet (who knew there was a beautiful floor there?), cleaned out my bathroom cabinets, cleaned out my pantry and laundry closet and shelves, and cleaned out my refrigerator. This week I’m working on the Big Mama of projects–my office! Then I will have my linen closet, freezer, and then actually going through the clothes in my closet and getting rid of lots of those left to do. After that? I have a gigantic box of photos to get digital and organized! I’m sure I won’t run out of projects.

I am spending some time online (but trying to avoid the news scare tactics) following up on my friends and family and getting through some training that I had been neglecting. And Candy Crush seriously needs to stop giving me unlimited lives every day!

I am watching some television–but not just because everyone else is (I have NOT been dragged into the Tiger King saga but am loving Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist!), but I am not binging on shows just because I can. I did today get 30 days free of BroadwayHD, so I may be binging on some of that!

I am reading! I haven’t done that for a very long time and started when I was having some anxiety waking me up at 1 a.m. until I could go back to sleep about an hour or so later. Anxiety was kind of a new deal for me. I was diagnosed with it years ago, had a really bad reaction to some medication, and just dealt with it after that. My anxiety is not severe (obviously) but it is there. I feel it creeping into the corners of my life at various times. Right now, it is there a lot. I have risk factors, I have allergies that are making me sneeze, cough, and triggering my asthma, which causes my anxiety to convince me I’m getting coronavirus and will die all without seeing my parents, siblings, kids, and grandbabies one last time. So trying to quiet that anxiety has been a little bit of a challenge.

My friends and I have a virtual happy hour every week where we get on a video call at the same time with an adult beverage of choice and catch up on what we have going on. It’s not exactly the same as meeting in person and having a wonderful dinner, but it works for now. Last night we discussed the first thing we would do once the quarantine was over, and everyone agreed after haircuts, nails, and brow/face waxing, we would get together for dinner!

My local work office has had two video happy hours just to check in with each other, meet our pets, and make sure everyone is doing OK and has what they need. It has been invaluable to me. I realized I missed talking to my peeps every day and this really helps.

I usually have beauty appointments every weekend and those have all been canceled. I know I will be DESPERATE for those services when I am able to return, so in the meantime, I’m trying to show my appreciation for all they do (and hold my place in line) by still sending them money when I would have been in. It’s my small way of loving on my beauty tribe and doing what I can until I can see them again. As long as I’m getting a full paycheck and would have spent it on them anyway, I feel like they need the help because they don’t have a PTO bank or unemployment benefits.

I am not being fanatical about my risk of catching the virus, but I’m not making it easy either. I’ve been out of the house three times in the last three weeks, twice to pick up timecards and deliver paychecks to my husband’s employees when he was out of town, and once to pick up my groceries in the pick-up spot in front of the store. I was using that service before all this started and it is still invaluable to me.

I’m not really sure how I will handle being out in public again because I could sure get used to this, but my husband is talking about retiring when he can and I can’t work while he is here, so I don’t think this bliss will last long. And he is really surprised at how well I’m doing trapped in the house all day. Perhaps some of that is because of perspective–I’m not trapped, I’m in my happy place. And once I get it cleaned out, it will be my even happier place!

I am super disappointed that my grandson’s graduation ceremony in Santa Fe has been canceled, both for having his senior year and all that goes with that ruined for him and because I was so looking forward to watching him walk across that stage and receive lots of accolades, but as soon as we can travel, we’re heading over there to give them all a big hug!

I may not be handling things the same way you would, but it is working for me. However you are handling this pandemic, please do be safe, be healthy, and be kind. Show love and support to those cashiers, delivery drivers, restaurant cooks, nurses, janitors, doctors, teachers, truck drivers, police, fire, EMTs, and all the others who still have to work to make life easier on the rest of us without much recognition about their risks of contracting the virus in their daily job. It’s one reason I yell “thank you” out the front door when the Amazon, FedEx, or UPS driver makes a delivery or at the grocery store to the employees helping me. Take a minute and thank the people making you more comfortable. They really are risking their lives for you!

From Grumpy To Grateful

Last weekend I went to the grocery store to do my grocery shopping for the next two weeks. I drive past a couple of other grocery stores because the one I like is newer and nicer. On this particular Sunday morning, it was also very crowded. While I’m convinced that grocery stores are remodeling stores to make the aisles JUST wide enough for two carts to fit, and then adding those cardboard displays into the aisles, and most people don’t pull over far enough when they are stopping to look for something, and the stores are making it more and more uncomfortable and inconvenient to shop in person so that we will take advantage of their online shopping and pickup or delivery, I still like to actually go into the store. I need to read labels because of my husband’s celiac sprue and going in person makes that process much easier

So the last time I went it was unusually crowded. Every aisle saw me waiting for people to move forward so I could move either around them or behind them if they continued moving. I was annoyed at the displays. I was annoyed at the people not moving over. I was annoyed at the store’s oversized carts that were in the middle of the aisles while they were shopping for online buyers. By the time I left the store, I was highly annoyed.

So I walked to my car, put my purse and drink in the front seat, and walked to the back to start loading the groceries. Because my key was in the front of the car, the back of the car would not open. Annoyed! So I had to go grab my purse, open the back, and put the purse back up front. I got the groceries loaded and put the cart away (which I ALWAYS do!) and got in my car to leave.

That’s when it struck me. Going to the grocery store had turned me into a grump! So I stopped to think about all the things going to the grocery store actually meant. It means I have money to shop for the groceries I need (and want) for the next two weeks. It means that we will be eating very well for the next two weeks. It means that I am lucky enough to have a car to drive myself to the store and legs that work well enough to get me around the store. It means there are fresh fruits and vegetables available for me. It means I can make choices in which brand of whatever I want to buy.

So going to the grocery store is actually a privilege and something to be very grateful for. It completely changed my mood and I’m glad that I caught it in time because it was a long ride home to keep amping up my grumps. Instead, I was able to have a nice ride home with the windows partially down on a beautiful Arizona “fall” day and remember how much I have to be grateful for.

We All Got Crowns

Every once in a while, I find a song that speaks to me in some way (and it usually has a beat and you can dance to it) and I end up listening to it over and over and over again every day for several weeks. With this one, I have even watched the video (multiple times) and looked up who all the people in the video are and what her Easter eggs in the video mean. It’s very interesting and you should check it out if you’re nerdy like me. My latest song addiction is Taylor Swift’sYou Need To Calm Down” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkk9gvTmCXY) There are several messages for me:

Say it in the street, that’s a knock-out
But you say it in a Tweet, that’s a cop-out

To me, this speaks to internet trolls. One of my greatest fears as a blogger is hurtful comments about one of my blog posts. I’ve had a taste of it once already on another page and I didn’t like it. I know I shouldn’t worry about it, and I know that if they really, truly cared so much THEY would be blogging . . . but they aren’t. People can do really awful things behind the cloak of the internet. Something about that makes people really brave. Think the Wizard of Oz. I should feel sorry for them that they feel the need to bully others online to make themselves look bigger. News flash! It doesn’t. It makes them look like the trolls they are. So if you have a comment to make, if it’s positive, please post it so everyone can see it but if it is negative, please send me (or the author) a private message. I’ve had lots of friends send me messages about typos in my proofreading blog (OOPS!) and I truly appreciate that.

And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate
‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay

This was actually the first line I heard that made me find the song. Indeed, shade never does make anybody less gay. I have many gay friends and family members and I love them all equally. Them being gay doesn’t affect me. It is THEIR lifestyle, not mine. Most of the homosexual couples I know have far better relationships than most heterosexual couples I know. Just mind your own business. And thanks to Taylor for actually saying it.

Like can you just not step on my gown?
You need to calm down

This is one of my favorite lines. To me it means that you’re getting into my space and stepping on my beautiful glittery gown because you’re upset about something dumb. Get. Off. My. Gown. Go be grumpy all by yourself off in a corner somewhere and quit dirtying up my space.

And we see you over there on the internet
Comparing all the girls who are killing it
But we figured you out
We all know now we all got crowns

But these lines are the essence of why I love this song. You can’t compare yourself to anyone else. As I’ve said before, you can’t compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel. Those people you follow on Instagram? That could be their only job. The authors, singers, podcasters, actors, all the successful people we follow and want to be just like? They’ve worked really hard (and probably a really long time) to get where they are. It wasn’t overnight. And it usually wasn’t without lots of help. So keep pushing forward. Keep doing what you’re doing. If you need help, ask for it. If you need training, get it. Do what you need to do to be where you want to be. That is all on you. Nobody else can make that happen for you.

But my favorite part is that we’ve ALL got crowns. Some are super glittery and out there for everyone to see (usually in Instagram) and some are nearly invisible, but they are there. We are ALL worthy, we are ALL amazing people, we are ALL successful if we work hard to be. Don’t compare yourself to others. Just be you! Then there’s no competition!

But remember, if someone is struggling and you can help, do! As they say, what goes around comes around. Another of my favorite sayings is:

Now I need to go find a nice crown to go with my beautiful glittery gown. Wanna come?

Just Be Nice

Because of my commute, I listen to a lot of podcasts. A LOT. Most of what I listen to are leadership and self-improvement podcasts. I recently heard something reminding me that I had purchased a gratitude journal that I hadn’t started using yet. The idea is to–every day–list five things you’re grateful for and ten dreams (written in present tense as if you already made them happen), and then one goal you will work on achieving first. And so I started.

Having to write down five things you’re grateful for every day can really take some effort. As you keep doing it, the best part is that you start looking for things to include each day which really helps me to look at every situation differently. In fact, recently I decided to be nice to others. I’m all for smiling at the security guard and the cleaning people I see every day, but I’m not good at striking up conversations with those people. This time, I specifically went out of my way when I saw the guy cleaning the planters outside (which is one of his tasks every morning) to thank him for doing such a good job. As I continued on my way, I heard him saying something behind me, but didn’t catch exactly what he said. I’m hopeful that it made the rest of his day better even if he said (as I may have heard) that he was just doing his job. Everyone working is “just doing their job,” but if they are doing that job well, with a smile on their face and a warm “good morning” every day, that deserves to be acknowledged.

Another day, I sent emails to our attorneys who always enter their timesheets on time. I’m in charge of sending out “reminder” emails. Several times. Every. Single. Month. So I get frustrated when people don’t do what I say and the people who follow directions have a special place in my heart. I decided to just send them a “thank you for getting your time in on time” email. Most of them responded thanking me for thanking them. It took me just a couple of minutes, but I hope it made a difference.

This week, take a minute to thank someone for doing what they do. It will probably make their day–and yours too!

Don’t Phub Me!

I recently learned a new word–phubbing. What is phubbing you might ask? It’s snubbing the person you’re having a conversation with to look at your phone. I am as guilty as anyone (and maybe even more so) of phubbing friends and acquaintances. I have even done some experimenting while I’m watching TV and looking at my phone. When that is happening, I am NOT paying attention to the TV and miss whatever was happening and have to rewind to catch up. Unfortunately, we can’t do that to conversations with people. Yet, when we are phubbing them, we are missing whatever it is that they’re saying. While it may well be boring, IT IS RUDE! Put your damn phone away and spend some quality time with others. We truly don’t need to be on our phones 24/7. I’ve mentioned before that I’m really trying to put my phone away and be intentional about my time with family and friends and it really does make a difference.


Sometimes, it even helps you notice that people are–indeed–phubbing you. They think they are paying attention and they think they are participating in the conversation, but they’re not. If you watch, they might smile over a Facebook post or text, they might share it with you (even though it has nothing to do with what your conversation was about), they might wince at some news story that flashed on their phone, but whatever it is they’re doing, they are NOT participating in the conversation with YOU!

I’m pretty sure that sometimes it is my introvert way of not dealing with others. If someone is sitting by themselves obviously looking at their phone, what is the chance of someone stopping and striking up a conversation? Pretty dang slim. So instead of meeting a potential new friend, I am caught up on the last 15 minutes of Facebook posts. That really is not a great trade.

Let’s make a pact to stop phubbing people. When you are having quality time with family or friends, put your phone away. The world won’t end if you don’t even look at it until you need to schedule the next outing with your friends or the next family event. I promise it won’t. And you will survive not looking at your phone for an hour or two. You just might be pleasantly surprised with how much fun a non-phubbing conversation can be. In fact, I recently went to dinner with friends and once everyone was there, phones were miraculously put away. It was a great evening of laughter, catching up, and true friendship–that actually continued for another hour in the parking lot–WITHOUT PHONES! That non-phubbing evening was special to me. Try it and you just may find that time spent NOT phubbing your friends will be special to you too!


2019 Word Of The Year

IntentionI am not one for New Year’s resolutions. It is frustrating to me because I don’t keep them and then I feel incompetent and down on myself. So I don’t do it. Instead, several years ago, I heard about having a word of the year–something that you can focus on to help you meet your goals. That is much easier (and probably much more effective) for me.

This year was harder than most. Usually I have my word no later than some time in November. This time, it was January before I came up with the word that will direct my life this year. So what is my word of the year for 2019? It is INTENTION. What does that mean? To me, it means that this year I will do things with intention. I don’t want to do things just because it’s expected of me or because I’ve always done it. I want to be intentional in the things I do for others and for myself. That means I will be letting go of some things this year that are taking my energy–but not my heart. I will continue to work on being present when I am with others (I think that is an intentional act). I will move with intention toward my goals instead of talking about them but not taking any action. I will live my life with intention–my intention. I will continue to put my phone away when I am with friends and family. I will be present where my feet are instead of where my head is. I will stop the negative self-talk and work on positive goals. I have so many people supporting me and my goals that the fact that I’m not moving that way is cheating me AND THEM out of seeing dreams fulfilled.

So know that if I say “no” to you, it is not personal. Well, it is personal to me and part of my intention, but it is not because of you. It is because I’m making room in my life and will finally allow others to do things that speak to their strengths (whether they know it or not). I won’t hog all the things.

What is your word for 2019 and what does it mean to you?

Show A Little Gratitude

GratitudeDid you receive gifts recently? Do you receive gifts throughout the year–for a reason or not? Did you say “thank you” to the giver?

Just getting past the holiday season reminds me of the importance of those two words. When a gift giver spends time and energy to find a gift they hope you will love (even if it is something you told them you wanted), they like to know that (a) you received it, (b) you are grateful for it, (c) you are kind enough to thank them for it. It’s not hard. And it doesn’t take much time. But it can make a huge difference in even whether you get another gift from that person.

So take the time to thank those who give you gifts (or do other nice things for you)! It encourages the gift-giver to continue and when those two small words make a difference in their whole attitude, it will make you feel better too.

How Lucky Am I?

HowluckyamiI 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.