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Luck Would Have It

Richard Quinn

I’VE BEEN WRITING FOR and reading HumbleDollar for more than six years.

I’m struck by the number of articles and comments that talk about things like divorce, job loss, health issues, adverse financial events and caring for elderly parents.

When articles discuss such experiences, the pieces are typically well read, with numerous comments, including many expressing empathy. The amount of personal information shared is amazing. No doubt readers can relate to many of these events. After all, for most people, such events represent key moments in their life’s journey.

But I find myself thinking: How did none of this happen to me?

I married my first girlfriend, and it’s now been more than 55 years. I never lost a job, except a position I held for one week when I was a teenager. There was never a year I didn’t receive a raise. I enjoyed my work for nearly 50 years. Both my parents died in their sleep, with no expensive, protracted end-of-life care. We found a way to ensure our four children graduated college with virtually no debt, and then helped them pay off what little they had borrowed.

A few health issues—while scary at the time—were resolved by good medical care and insurance that minimized our cost. The only exception has been Connie’s eye injury a few years ago. Her eyesight, unfortunately, will never be the same again.

We raised our family on one income, while Connie did the hard work of managing the family and volunteering in the community. We lived the first 30 years of our married life quite modestly. We worked together on the goals we set. Disagreements—especially about money matters—have been rare and quickly resolved.

I didn’t hit the income jackpot—meaning bonuses, stock options, stock awards—until I was age 60. Still, in retirement, we have financial security, thanks to a pension and Social Security.

I’d like to take credit for some of our good fortune, but I’m hard pressed to do so. The best I can come up with: We tried hard to avoid poor decisions.

According to the Mayo Clinic, expressing gratitude can deliver a slew of benefits, including improved sleep, mood and immunity. Gratitude can also reduce depression, anxiety, the risk of disease and difficulties with chronic pain.

Here Connie and I are, with a combined 164 years of life behind us. It’s almost like we lived in a 1950s sitcom. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is my favorite. I don’t know why we have what we have or why things happened as they did. But we are indeed grateful.

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