Thursday, October 11, 2007

Life is What You Make It

My father-in-law often chides DrChako and me about the fact that we live under this blessed little white cloud that seems to protect us from bad things and brings us good luck. His chiding is two-fold, really. First, DrChako is a student of the "it all works out in the end" theory, which makes him not so much of a planner. Second, although I am much more of a planner than my husband, we both tend to procrastinate on things.

However, much to my chagrin, my husband does seem to have it right in that, generally, "it all works out in the end." We've moved six times in 12+ years of marriage, and each time, we find nice places to live, good schools for the children, good daycares, good babysitters, and a great job for me everywhere we've been (all the moves have been at the "request" of Uncle Sam, so the Dr.'s job is never in question). And its not like that good fortune has not been tested. For example, every place we have lived has also had a natural disaster happen during the time we lived there . . . the 100-year flood of '93 in Iowa, the 100-year flood of '98 AND '02 in San Antonio, the mega windstorm in Seattle in '06 . . . each time, our house has been completely untouched (ok, the windstorm threw a branch on our house and chipped out a 2 inch sliver of a board on the side of our roof).

While I am not one to question our good fortune, I have to wonder if our good fortune is nothing more than our ability to accept and make the most out of what life throws at us. I know people who would not handle six moves as well as our family has. Even Son #1 isn't really unnerved that this is his 4th home (and conceivable, not his last). The kids seem to have adopted our attitudes and make friends where ever they go.

Not that we don't have moments - I still remember the tearful explosion when I learned we were moving to Germany . . . I'm pretty sure a "How the hell am I supposed to maintain a career over there?" came out of my mouth at least once (postscript: I was employed for my current firm over there the whole time). And DrChako did almost get sick when he first saw our current house (which I purchased on my own, without him ever seeing it) prior to us having repainted all of the interior walls, which were various shades of pink and mauve. But all in all, we pretty much roll with whatever comes our way. It makes for a lot less stress and ulcers. And looking back on it all, it makes for a pretty interesting life story that might not have been the same had we never taken that crooked path in front of us.

I contrast that with a young person I work with (or used to work with, after recent events). Lets call this person "Misfortune". Misfortune was a complainer. Misfortune had performance issues (I tend to think there is a link between the two). Misfortune was the kind of person for whom bad luck seemed to be around every corner. Misfortune ran out of gas on a remote work-related trip. Misfortune forgot to renew their license before a business trip and almost was not able to return home because they did not have current identification. The stories went on and on and on for Misfortune.

Misfortune requested a five-week "leave of absence" to complete their professional licensing requirements. This is something that the rest of our employees do in their spare time (what little they have). We compromised and worked out an arrangement where for the next five weeks, Misfortune had some unpaid time off to complete Misfortunte's studies and testing. When asked if the arrangement was acceptable, Misfortune replied "Well . . . its an arrangement." One week into the five-week plan, after deviating from the arrangement on multiple occassions, Misfortune announced that "I will be taking the full leave of absence" anyway, to accomplish said goals. We accepted Misfortunte's resignation, naturally.

While I think there are people every day who are struck by tragedy they do not bring upon themselves, I think for most people (Misfortune?) there has to be a point where you stop and ask yourself "Do bad things always happen to me? Or do things happen to me that I can only see as bad?"

At some point, life is what you make it.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife


DrChako said...

We've done okay, eh?

A note to your readers. We may be moving soon. If you hear the Chako clan is coming to your town, buy flood, hurricane and earthquake insurance.

Instant Tragedy: Just Add Sean said...

Come on down to Lubbock, we haven't had anything exciting happen since 1970 and the Bubble is currently working fully!

RaisingCayne said...

I loved this post. I always have a little internal chuckle EVERYTIME I hear someone say something like "drama/trouble just seems to always follow me around." Ridiculous! If I ever find myself thinking this, it's time for some self-reflection! Drama doesn't follow drama queens around, they create it! Trouble doesn't follow trouble-makers around, they make it!