As I contemplate what Zach's job search will turn up and where life will take us next, I've started looking back and wondering about what it is that's gotten us to where we are today. There's been a lot that I would chalk up to our own merit. We've made many conscious decisions over the years that allowed us to accrue a nice little nest-egg so that we don't have to feel stressed as Zach leaves his job-- decisions on how and where to spend money, even Zach's choice of chemical engineering as a major over other similar fields based on its higher potential income. There's also all the hard work we have both put in, in school and work and life in general. I don't want to downplay these factors or negate them.
But there's also been a whole lot of plain old luck involved. Luck in general, never-think-about-them things such as being born to and raised by loving, middle-class, non-abusive families. Attending good schools, and growing up with an understanding that education is important and that college wasn't an if, but a how and where. Having both the emotional and financial support to get through school. Meeting influential people along the way, both in work and in school, who have helped give us direction and inspiration (and the all-important connections). Opportunities that have opened themselves up to us at the right moment, such as a job at my dream Montessori school right out of training, or an ex-pat package to Switzerland (not to mention the chance for Zach to leave a job he was growing to hate, with a healthy lay-off package on top of it-- that's been a particularly brilliant stroke of luck). Being able to plan out our family, to choose when we wanted to have Donovan. Marrying a spouse who supports and appreciates what I do, even if it doesn't bring in a paycheck. Our health. Our functioning bodies. Our mental health.
So I would say our lives are the product of a fusion of the two-- conscious effort, and luck. Many people have one or the other (or seem to only acknowledge the effect of one over the other), but we happen to have both. At least, we have so far. We've been incredibly lucky so far. Life may not always be easy, and I've spent a lot of time frustrated over day-to-day things that can be difficult to deal with in the moment... but when I step back and look at the whole picture, holy cow do we have it good.
And there's this little part of me that's just watching and waiting, waiting for that luck to run out. Waiting for some tragedy or catastrophe to happen. It's not something I obsess over or spend hours awake at night thinking about... but it is something that is often just sitting there, at the back of my mind, a little voice reminding me to appreciate everything I have because you never know when it might be taken away from you. Because we can't keep on getting this lucky forever, can we? Can we really keep catching these lucky breaks?
Zach jokes about "hitting the jackpot"-- landing a job that starts just as his notice ends, so we get to enjoy these weeks of paid "off" time beforehand but also keep most of the severance as savings. I'm curious to see if he'll pull it off.