We are the lucky ones


We found a perfect little house last week. It’s a bungalow on a leafy road with a wraparound porch. Inside, it’s bright and airy, with the kind of dining room that would be ideal for Thanksgiving dinners with James’ family, and an extra space for my parents to stay in when they come to visit. There’s a huge yard; the kind of yard that would make for a happy, tired corgi. We fell in love.

But we aren’t prepared to buy this house. We haven’t saved enough for that giant downpayment. We need to work on our condo to get it ready to sell. We need to sell our condo. I need to learn how to use a snow blower. You know, all the fun things.

Needless to say, I was a little heartbroken. I’m not someone who longs to have children, and I’m not really focused on getting into the C-suite. The thing that I pine away for is a house for our little family.

Then, last night, I took Kona out for her last walk before bed and we ran into one of our favorite neighbors. He and his wife have a dog named Memphis who gets so excited about seeing Kona that he sometimes has a little snorting attack. They live in one of the affordable housing units in our building. I asked Memphis’ owner how summer was going. He used to do contract landscaping, but he told me that he had recently taken a full-time job as a custodian at a local high school. “Health insurance! Dental! Retirement!” he exclaimed, rolling his eyes back and shaking his head like he couldn’t believe his luck. “It’s the best! I feel like a new person.” I told him that I felt the same way with my relatively new entry into the full-time work world. It made me so happy to see him so fulfilled simply by being able to provide for his family and stand on his own two feet. We agreed that we’re both very lucky.

And then I came upstairs, picked up my iPad, and learned about the attack in Nice. Another tragedy. More innocent lives lost.

It’s funny how things matter and then, suddenly, they don’t. I think all this terrorism is supposed to make us fearful, and while I am afraid, I am also more appreciative and more present. I am more awake. If it’s possible that time could be short–and that’s always been a possibility, however less likely–but if it’s possible, then I want to stop seeing things as obligations and more as choices. I want the people I love to know that I love them. And I want to be happy right where I am.

I don’t want to stop planning for the future. We will have a house one day. But for now, we’re here. We’re happy. And we’re so, so lucky.

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