I appear to be leading a charmed life. I am healthy. I am financially secure. I have a husband who adores me and I him. I have four healthy, contented, bright and beautiful children. I have a lovely home and I have a circle of close and trusted friends. And it’s not just now, in my forties, that I have all this. Throughout my life nothing serious has ever gone wrong. My childhood was idyllic. I loved school. I chose my career path at 14 and then was focused on that throughout my education. I got the job I wanted and remained in it until I chose to leave. I have never suffered any relationship traumas. No one that I loved has died except in the natural course of life.
And now, am I tempting fate by brandishing my good fortune like a weapon? Will the gods look down from the skies smiling wryly and preparing to send me a thunder bolt that will smash my contentment to smithereens? That may well happen. It’s statistically highly likely but when it does it will, I suspect, be nothing to do with fate. I don’t believe in fate. Despite my husband’s conviction that we were meant to be together and would have met no matter where life took us, I am much more realistic about how the course of people’s lives pan out. Basically as far as I am concerned it is all about good decisions and good luck.
But luck is all relative. I will merrily walk under ladders so long as they look stable and I gave up counting magpies when I was a child. I am not superstitious in any way. I do not believe that I can control my luck, good or bad in any kind of supernatural manner. But I do believe that luck can be controlled and that I have controlled mine. It seems to me that some people have more luck than others for a reason and that reason is the choices that they make throughout their life.
Don’t get me wrong. I can’t control everything that happens to me. I had no idea when I was 16 that my future husband was sitting behind me in class. Meeting him and the other members of my form was just luck. Choosing to marry him and not anyone else some ten years later was a choice and, as it turned out, a good one. From that decision stemmed most of the things that make me happy and that I am grateful for today. I picked well.
I was trained well to make good decisions and learned at the hands of a master. My mum and dad taught me consistency, taking responsibility for my decisions and tenacity without my even being aware of it. Through them I developed my fierce sense of independence and a confidence in my own ability to make the right choice. Over the years, I have never regretted a decision or felt that I have made a mistake although there are a couple that I might approach differently with the benefit of hindsight. And I rarely change my mind which means that I remain committed to my chosen path and as a result invariably reach my destination.
It is easy, though, to make the right choices if you don’t take any risks. I am cautious by nature and the path that I chose for myself has been well trodden by many others. Still, I know plenty of people who have taken a similar route and got horribly lost so perhaps there is some art to it.
I am also happy to take full credit for what I have achieved. With no faith in God or the gods generally or fate, I truly believe that the only body controlling my life is me and that I have to live with all that I have done and will go on to do. I now need to ensure that I pass what I have learned on to my children quietly and without any fuss like my parents did to me so that they can take from it what they will when they start to make life changing decisions.
Of course I am not so naive as to think that life will always be this sweet. I have stopped thinking that things are bound to go wrong and that, by the law of averages, it must be my turn by now, although that is very tempting. I also no longer allow myself to dwell on how catastrophically wrong things could go now that the anti is well and truly upped by having children. But as and when something difficult befalls me or mine I hope that I will be able to use the skills that I have developed thus far to try to navigate my way through. Of course, the only downside of my charmed life is that I have never had to deal with a crisis and so have no experience on which to draw. I would like to think that I will rise above the tumult and retain my general cool, collected and controlled manner. But really I have absolutely no inkling of how I will react or of my capacity to cope in the face of adversity.
Until then I shall just continue doing as I’m doing and hoping that the sun will continue to shine on my world for a very long time to come.