There is no such thing as luck. You make your luck.

or to put it more precisely,
luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
I don't know who said it and it doesn't really matter right now.

A few disclaimers before I begin...
lottery winners.
people hit by asteroids.
Although in those cases you can merely think of it as destiny or fate.

I was raised in a house where practical thinking often was over ridden by magical thinking.
What do I mean?
There was a sense of fatalism in my house growing up.
In fact it wasn't too far removed from the muslim concept "God wills it".
Wherein you didn't have to plan because if God wanted it to happen he would will it.
Choices were just things that happened in reaction to events.
Therefore nearly every decision made was limited by the circumstances surrounding the decision to be made...As opposed to making a decision and then setting up your life to accomplish the goal.
There is a vast...Mariana Trench difference between these two ways of seeing and dealing with life.
Up until 2009, I was in the first category in nearly every aspect of my life (except for my children's education and training AND my approach to my marriage).
I was working on boundaries with people but:
In most things..
I never planned.
I reacted.
My husband got orders....I reacted....I would start getting rid of stuff, blah blah blah.
I would have to find numbers and call people...everything took twice as long because I was never prepared. I was always behind.
Did I know that as an army couple we would have to move?
uh, yeah.
Did I ever make a master list of things to do before the actual occurrence so I wouldn't have to run around like a chicken with my head cut off every two years?
Then I would get angry and stressed and blame my anger and stress on any Inconvenient anomaly in my preparations...(delay in orders, difficulty with travel office etc.)

When you are constantly reacting instead of being proactive, you will constantly feel behind the 8 ball. You want to get ahead of the ball...That way when life throws you a curve, you will only have to keep one thing in the air instead of seven or eight things.

I was relating a little story to a friend in comments the other day.
It goes something like this...and I think it perfectly illustrates what I am trying to say here.
You all remember 'my low point".
Husband gone to Iraq....miscarriage....stress...family sickness.
In the midst of all this I decide during my husband's third deployment to go back to Michigan to see my family.
(Another decision I made was to keep my girls connected to extended family, even though my family never comes to see me...I knew growing up what it felt like to have little to no roots.
I wanted my girls to have roots. So every two years we travel back east for two weeks to see the grandparents..no matter how obnoxious they get.)

It was Probably not the best decision in retrospect.
I was beyond stressed, but really wanted to see my little brother.
Who would be home the same time I was.
My mother has a habit (or had a habit lol) of thinking of me as "Chrissy".
My mother also has the habit of attributing nearly everything to luck...which drives both me and my little brother insane...
I was still 12 years old in her mind.
All the work I had done drawing boundaries with others was done.
The last one's left were my mother and my husband (who would come later).

Because of our childhood, I had her on a pedestal...So I had some unresolved anger issues from childhood that I had never confronted her with...
And she had for years attributed my successful marriage to being 'lucky enough to find a good man'....

Now I did find a good man.
But like all of us, we had some rough edges.
And right at that moment, we were having one heck of a time.
He was in the beginning stages of ptsd, where he would just sit and stare out the window....and now he was going back to Iraq again. He was withdrawn and would have outbursts of anger.
And I was going on two years of being a war bride. I had very little support, very little time to myself...I was fat and unhappy and joyless.
And I was
In a country that didn't seem to know it was at war.
While everyone else looked normal..felt normal I would get questions like
"Why are you so depressed?'
So, on to the Argument for the Ages...
the Mother of all Holiday Fights.
Whatever you want to call it...It will never be forgotten that is for sure.
I go Christmas shopping and I was edgy with my mom anyways....she never wants to talk about anything in the past.
She says "I don't want to talk about it"
and puts her hand up...and for years I allowed her to do that.
She was our MOM.
I come home and say..The cashier was rude to me..(and she WAS.)
It takes a lot to get me to notice rudeness....ignoring me, and blowing me off I notice.
My mom says "maybe she is having a rough day."
I said "she isn't the only one'
my mom said and I quote "maybe she doesn't have a husband to fall back on...some people aren't so lucky'
That was apparently the straw that broke the camels back...
for me.
"where is my HUSBAND MOM!" (imagine the snottiest, most sarcastic tone you can utter...that was the tone)

She says..."I don't want to talk about it (with the hand)
I say "I don't give a f*ck if you want to talk about it because
shocked silence.
The F word being a big no no in my house growing up...which may be why I used it.
My big brother says...you don't cuss at mom Chrissy.
yep. I am yelling.
He says 'You aren't the Chrissy I know"
I say nope...I am not
"CAUSE I AIN'T CHRISSY...i am a 33 year old wife and mother who you don't know anything about because you never ask...and this is between me...a grown woman...and her, a grown woman.
So butt out."
Then I let my mom have it...
from how 'lucky' I was, to every last piece of shit life dealt me. How her need to have a man in her life had lead her on many occasions to put our wants and needs on the back burner...How I had felt like a burden to her and that NO CHILD should ever feel like a burden. Which is why each of my children were planned and wanted. How I was tired of her and her "hand" and that I had a right to speak, to be treated as an adult and how luck had nothing to do with my marriage succeeding or failing. It had been hard work, period...that had kept my marriage together and me, a grown woman..who had kept my home together.
That it took me to the age of 33 to come out and say
HEY! I am an adult...treat me like one.
Well... I wish I had done it sooner.
And with fewer F words.
And not on Christmas Eve.
But, you take what you can get.
If I had been proactive, we could have had that conversation at a better time...but if you have an issue...that festers...it needs to be dealt with.
She was shocked into silence.
She said "why didn't you ever tell me?"
I say "really mom, with you and your "I don't want to talk about it" hand?
Then we sat down and really talked, about a lot of things.
And I have no doubt that is the last time we will talk about it lol.
But now I am Chris, not Chrissy.
My anger is gone...I dealt with it.
If I had still had that sitting in me I would still be eating it.
If you have a goal. You won't get there without a defined route.
If you have a destination. You won't get there without a MAP.
don't REACT
Set down in writing what you want to accomplish.
set down the steps you will need to take to accomplish those goals
Do them one by one.
If anything is stopping you from starting....fix it.
Dig it up and kill it.
plow it under and use it for fertilizer.
Have a good one.
chris out.


Robin said...

Excellent post. Reactive vs Proactive. I think that all of us have lived behind the 8 ball and know what that feels like. It is life altering when you realize that you can make the choice to get in front of it.

Unknown said...

Boy you struck a nerve with me here, Chris. I have a mother who can't talk about things either. I don't get a hand though, I get irrational anger, lies and denial. I understand though, she's got this immense guilt and does not know the Lord...yet.
She believes in magic too.

According to her, I'm "lucky" I found a good man too. And he *is* wonderful, but he's not perfect and I *chose* him. He didn't fall out of a box of cracker Jacks.

I'm also "lucky" he didn't leave me when we went though our rough patch according to her. Wrong. I am thankful we were able to work through the mess we'd made of the marriage, but if I were "lucky" it wouldn't have gotten that way in the first place. If it were luck, it wouldn't have been so hard.

I also totally agree with you about acting instead of REacting. That's the reason we began to homeschool this year. We had been waiting for years, working for years with the school trying to get my sons the education and special education they deserve and falling short every year. I would comfort myself by saying, "I could always homeschool if I need to".

Then one day last fall after a particularly rough afternoon at school for my youngest, it dawned on me. Why in the world would I homeschool only as a reaction to the failure of the public school?

Sorry so long...

SeattleRunnerGirl said...

Amen. Really, truly - that's all I've got. You write so much truth, and today all I can say is AMEN.

Anonymous said...

Whew! You are my hero. :) Deb

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Beautiful, really.
So hits me in the heart.
Speaks to the only big regrets I could ever have- not having taken the chance to face the things I should have faced with my mother and sister long ago. I have vowed to do it better with my sister than I did with my mother.
It's never good to wait until we just blow up, but you are right- better than never facing it at all.
Thank you for knowing the right way to express difficult things and give them a hopeful bend. We all need this.

Retta said...

Thank you, Chris. I needed to read this tonight.


Maria Bloodwell said...

I remember that fight. Boy it is always weird hearing someone refer to you as 'Chrissy'. Two words for you during that fight 'Flawless Victory'.

carla said...


this can not be said enough.


You rock
You are tenacious
You are resilient

it isnt luck :)

Joy said...

I can remember only 2 things (big things) that I planned in my life. Everything else that has happened...just happened. I am a great planner for work, but not for my own personal life!

I have tried many times to commit to a challenge on my blog to only fail. I think that's why I don't like to get my goals out there, because I, obviously, don't do what I need to do to achieve them.....As I'm thinking right now..just now...I'm saying in my head..."I can set any goal for my body that I want, but it's up to my body to get there...I can't make it lose weight..." Hummmm a really?

Is what you are saying is....if I set a goal, do what I'm suppose to do to reach the goal...then the goal will be achieved?

I am going to do it!! No more "luck" for me...I am going to make some stuff happen!!

Stay focused!!!!

M Pax said...

Staying married is certainly a choice and work.

I hope your husband is doing better. Glad you are. :)

Although we can not control everything that happens in our lives, we can control how we deal with it and react.

Putz said...

question:::do you feel that if you had never worked this all out, you would have been able to lose any weight at all?????????????i mean can a person with issues ever lose weight????i know we all have issues, but so mabey that is why so little weight is lost in the world<><><><>too many people with issues<>><<>not enough homes like the cleaver home on television,.,.no leave it to beavers with skinny moms who are geniuses manageing their homes oh and of course perfect dad with no weight problems taking beaver aside and with a one on one talk straightening the kid out for life>><><><my son told me he would hate me endlessly because i never let him have a motorcycle when he was get this six years old, yes he has his six year old and four year old on motorchcles and already he has almost lost his arm and one of his kids in accidents, but it is me that is the bad father

Christine said...

@ mr. putz. serious issues...I think it makes it ten times harder. as forr your son hating you because you wouldn't let him have a motorcycle. look him dead in the eye and say "son, I am sorry to hear that...I only did what I thought was best for you. I love you. The rest you are going to have to figure out for yourself:.
Hugs mr. putz, you sound like a good dad. At least you stuck around and tried. sounds like your boy has some growing to do.

Patsy said...

Obviously some people have more than their fair share of tragedy and misfortune through no fault of their own, but when someone uses "whatever will be, will be" as an excuse to just sit back and take no responsibility for their life, it REALLY p*sses me off... They're also normally the type of people who are constantly bemoaning their lot...!

Melissa said...

I love this post for a million reasons.
You rock.
And should have a book.

Iniya said...

A very well written post - loved it. Agree so much that we need to plan and attack whatever that we want to achieve.