Those Moments when the Stars Align – How Did they Turn out for you in the Long-Term?

Let’s posit that, once or twice in our lives, we all unexpectedly find ourselves in a situation where we can effortlessly achieve our dearest wish. It could be your dream job, or the love of your life, or the perfect house, or whatever you cherish the most, but the kind of golden opportunity that I’d like to discuss here must :

  • be potentially life-changing, for the better. If you seize it, you’ll live « happily everafter ».
  • arise completely out-of-the-blue. Suddenly, it is just whithin reach and you absolutely didn’t see it coming.
  • land right into your lap. A fortunate series of events fall right into place with minimal effort on your part.
  • be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, extremely unikely to ever present itself again. It’s now or never.

Has something like this happened to you ? If yes, I’m curious as to how it turned out. Did the change live up to your hopes ? Did it disappoint ? Did it turn into a catastrophe ?

  • Perfectly. Everything has been just as wonderful as I had hoped and it’s still going strong.
  • Well. There were some bumps along the way but my life is better now than it was before.
  • Meh. None of my hopes materialized and I was quickly back to square one.
  • Horribly. If something looks too good to be true, it is. I should have run away.

0 voters

My story is below, feel free to share yours.

I met Gini at work, soon after my ex-wife and I had gotten divorced. She ticked all the right boxes for me.

She was bright (PhD in a STEM field), introverted like me, tolerant of my quirks which she either found cute or actually shared. She was also very pretty, turning heads wherever she went, not to mention over 10 years younger than me (34 and 45). But what won me over was her kindness. She was so sweet she often seemed naive.

She soon started coming to see me every day, finding occasions for us to meet in places where we would likely be alone. She showered me with attention, sending me emails and texts, leaving treats on my desk before I arrived, or showing up with a surprise meal she had cooked to my liking.

Gini very quickly opened up about her private life. Her pathologically controlling father who was prone to fits of rage, who forbade her from having any friends and who was still monitoring her every move when she was well into her mid-20s. Her abusive ex, who alternated between screaming at her for the pettiest reasons and contemptuously rejecting her. When I remarked that such frankness was unusual so fast, she said she had immediately felt at ease with me. « I’m an open book for you. »

A month later, she invited me back to her place after work and kissed me as soon as we got there. Over the following 6 weeks, we discovered each other, little by little as she wanted to take things slowly. Then, one Saturday morning, she asked me to make love to her. Being a very late starter and not interested in casual sex, Gini was a bit inexperienced, but she was very sensual and gentle, which I loved. We felt an immediate physical compatibility. « Intense » was how we described it.

In the mornings, she rubbed her face against my arm like a cat, put moisturizing cream on my hands and combed my hair. Honestly, I didn’t need her to do all that but it felt wonderful. We shared the same vision for our relationship. If it developed as well as it had started, moving in together at one point would be the next step. Kids and marriage were possibilities we also agreed on for the more distant future. It all felt so natural and obvious, as if life was giving second chance.

Of course, it was all downhill from there.

Our relationship never really gelled. Something fundamental felt off. Sure, we had our moments. Some perfect mornings here, a few great weekend getaways there, dozens of lovely bicycle rides in the countryside, countless sweet afternoons watching tv in each other’s arms until she fell asleep. But the sincere, affectionate woman I had fallen in love with turned manipulative and aloof. Our conversations boiled down to work, weather and what’s for dinner. She left my texts unread for hours, missed my calls and stood me up several times. She kept on postponing our plans. She never introduced me to her family (« my dad would get mad ») or friends (« I don’t see them because of Covid »). I noticed inconsistencies, even contradictions, in her stories. That abusive ex she had dumped a year earlier ? She was still trying to get pregnant from him less than 5 months before we met. She had told me about another man, her first, with whom she’d been for « much longer » before her ex, but about whom she barely talked. It turns out they had been married. Maybe they still were, for all I know.

Gini left me after two and a half years together, allegedly because her failure to move on with our plans and my growing impatience were too stressful for her to bear. I suspect it really was because she had realized that I saw through her lies and that I was not going to put up with her anymore.

I long hesitated between options 3 and 4. I finally went with 3. I salvaged a few good things from that wreck.

My life-changing opportunity is “got the chance to move to Europe.”

It’s detailed in this thread.

It doesn’t quite qualify on the third point, because it was a choice we made and we pursued it with vigor. Nevertheless the stars had to align perfectly to make the move realistic on the short time frame we had set for ourselves.

I selected “Perfectly”. As introduced in this thread: Job interview & process question from Jan 2011. The first paragraph is: “I have been a member of a military for the previous 30 years and working in a specialty field for the last 15. A week ago, completely out of the blue, I got a phone call at my office from someone who does my kind of work in a civilian company, saying that my name had been referred to them as a possible candidate. The company concerned is a world leader in its field and this job would present an almost unbelievable professional opportunity and challenge as well as a significant quality of life enhancement - in other words an ideal situation at the right time in my life offered to me on a platter (assuming it happens).”

And it did happen and 11 years later I’m still in that company. There have been a few rough patches here and there but they were of my own making (over the last year I’ve found out that I may be a bit neurodiverse (and waiting for an evaluation) so my reactions to a few events were not particularly appropriate).

Having said that, I can honestly say that I’m grateful to be working for them as they have done everything right regarding Covid and they are incredibly flexible regarding WFH, dress code and working hours.

I chose “Perfectly”.

I was at a low point in my life, college dropout, just after a Very Bad Event (random crime victim, I didn’t cause it), trying to keep my barely running VW alive another week, and working an unpleasant midnight-shift job loading trucks.

Tired of staring at my crappy apartment, and went to one of the college parties. While there I again noticed the good-looking gal from Sorority Row I’d seen several times. She was aloof but agreed to a dance or two. Afterward we found ourselves alone in the venue cleaning up some of the carnage. I still don’t know what happened, but we later found ourselves greeting the morning together and having breakfast. I moved in with her that week, and proposed by week 2. We set a marriage date a year from that, and went through with it despite frenzied and hostile objections on all sides. Parents, friends, teachers, everyone tried to stop it from happening, and even interfered* later to torpedo us. A few weeks after we POSSLQ’d, I got a new job and a massive pay increase. And things have only improved from there.

We’re still together over 40 years later. Our kids are grown, successful beyond our wildest dreams, and have gone on to live their lives. We’ve recently retired and just spent 70 days together, roaming the country in our RV. Not a single argument or problem the entire time. By any measure, we’ve had one of the most cooperative and successful marriages I’ve ever known of. There’s no one else I really want to spend time with, even now.

*We’re still puzzled by the hostility to our relationship. Inheritances were withdrawn, we were called in (separately) for counseling against it, both by teachers, parents and friends. One group vowed to interfere with and disrupt the wedding, to the point we (literally) sent out false invitations with the wrong date. One family was so opposed they tried to gain custody of our kids. It’s been insane. And yet — here we are, having outlasted everyone.

For me, it’s ‘dream house’ and I chose ‘well’.

17 years ago, when our kids were still little tykes, we were ready to move into a slightly better neighborhood with a better school district. We found an affordable house we really liked on an acre and a half of land in an area where many of the homes were valued at double or more what ours was.

The reason for our house being so much cheaper than the typical home in the area, we reasoned, was because it was a bit of an odd house-- it had originally been built as a small ranch in the 50s, and was added onto over the years until it was what you’d call a ‘sprawling’ ranch, with a second story over the garage. It didn’t have a basement, which was a big point against it (most houses in our area of the country do have basements). It was on well and septic, which made us leery because both of us had always lived in or owned houses with city water and sewer service.

But otherwise we loved the house, quirks and all. It had a huge wraparound deck, a giant outbuilding shed (called a pole barn in the Real Estate description), and the backyard was like an enormous park. It was ringed with tall majestic pines that created a year-round natural privacy fence and there were several fruit trees - apple trees and one pear. One apple tree produced so many apples I bought a juicer and made 10 gallons of hard cider one year. The house was close to lots of lakes, rivers and natural outdoor areas for recreational opportunities. I actually felt like I had lucked out so much getting this house that I was afraid something bad would happen to balance out the scales, like soon finding out I had a terminal disease or something. I actually offered up a silent prayer, something to the effect of “God, if you exist (I’m sure if He does exist He loves prayers that start that way :roll_eyes:), please give me at least one solid year to enjoy my new home before something bad happens”.

In the 17 years since, I’ve gotten used to living in the house, and have expanded my sense of privilege to think “would be kinda nice to upgrade to a home with a basement, or directly on a lake, or - or - or…”. And there have been bumps along the way-- expensive repairs, dying apple trees (including the one I made all the cider from) and the majestic pines that ring the property are slowly dying from the bottom up from a disease called ‘needle cast’ or ‘needle drop’. We’ve planted some new trees to replace the dead and dying ones, but it’s expensive and trees do not grow very fast.

But overall, it’s been really great and a definite upgrade from where we used to live.

I was a contractor, writing about monthly events held by a local tech recruiting firm. Killing time before the speaker began, I started up a conversation with a woman who turned out to be the speaker’s wife. She was only there because it was her birthday and they were going out for dinner afterward.

Seven years later she’s still my boss. Like any job it’s had its ups and downs, but it’s been mostly fantastic – and never would have happened if she had just met up with her husband after the event.

Thank you for sharing this. It must have been so painful, considering how gloriously things started.

Meeting my wife, which was a series of things that almost didn’t happen.

  1. I was already married and not looking.
  2. I decided to take a writing course, despite the fact I was out of work and not sure about spending the money. My wife insisted.
  3. My soon-to-be wife wasn’t sure about taking the course, either, since she had just lost her job.
  4. We both liked science fiction
  5. She developed a crush on me because she knew she didn’t have to worry about fulfilling it.
  6. My first wife, out of the blue, left me.
  7. I started hanging out with my wife. She helped me get over things.

It turned out to be a successful marriage.

Also, I lost one job and noticed an opening at a nearby college. They designed the job description so it fit someone they wanted to hire. Turned out, it fit me perfectly and since they were hiring two people, I got one. Been there 25 years.

It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot : the role of luck at the beginning of a relationship. Perhaps we should have a thread about it.

Thank you for your kind words.

I can’t deny that, for the rest of my life, I will be wondering where we went wrong. But, paradoxically, the beak-up itself wasn’t that painful for several reasons.

  1. I had seen it coming for over two years. I quickly felt that something was off, so when it happened, I was prepared.
  2. I had also more or less decided to end the relationship, too. In June, she had told me for the third time that she was ready to move in with me. We had agreed to start looking in September. If she had told me then that she had changed her mind again, I’d have left her.
  3. I salvaged a few good things from this. As I wrote in the OP, “we had our moments”, and I will cherish those memories. Plus, I relearnt a lot about statistics and probabilities, which I loved at school. Gini was also really into sports and, thanks to her, I am much more fit now. On a more general note, I had not felt that alive in 20 years. I’ve added an exciting albeit sad chapter to a life story that had started to look like “more of the same for a couple of decades and then death”.
  4. We failed at being a couple, but we parted gracefully. Our last hours together, as I was packing, were almost tender. She said “Forgive me” and hugged me and, just before I left, she added “I regret nothing with you”. Our very last words to each other were “I love you”.

With something that happened “out of the blue” and “what were the chances” involved my dad’s 1966 Chevy Impala convertible, an undercover cop car, and a distant relative several hundred miles away.

Borrowed my dad’s convertible (a 20 year driver in okay shape) on a Saturday night as a high school senior. Racing some friends around the perimeter of a mall parking lot after closing so it was empty except for 1 car. Around we went and BAM!!!, I thought I hit a light pole. No, it was the car sitting there who decided to start chasing my friend’s car and pulled out in front of me. I got out, my friends sceedadled, and a uniformed officer got out of the other car. He was there to stop guys like me racing around the parking lot after closing. Called my dad, hauled the car home, and pondered how to fix the smashed front end of his car.

That next weekend my parents went to visit some cousins over in another state and in talking to one of them about what happened they mentioned how their father in law had 1966 Chevy Biscayne 4 door that they were getting ready to take to the junk yard next week due to frame rust. My dad went and got car and brought it home. Front end sheet metal was in near perfect shape. Switched the front end sheet metal and painted it Krylon gloss black to match the rest of the car, didn’t look too bad.

What were the odds of my parents making that trip and happen to talk about the car to a guy who’s father in law happened to have the parts and the car would have been gone a week later.

Not being sarcastic or snarky at all: Have you thought about writing a screenplay?

Well, it wasn’t my “Dream Job”, in that I had literally never even thought of applying for it before it fell into my lap, but what became my career fits most of your criteria.

I had been functionally unemployed for almost three years after grad school (very bad timing on my part, there was a major downturn just as I graduated). Then all this happened:

  1. My sister just happened to visit that year for Thanksgiving
  2. She just happened to go out to dinner with an old friend.
  3. The old friend just happened to mention that her department was doing some hiring, and told my sister who I should contact.

Now, that doesn’t seem like much yet. Then it got trippy.

  1. They had just completed all their planned hiring.
  2. Without warning, one old employee quit after they had completed their hiring.
  3. This was the one guy there who had the science/technical qualifications for his particular job.
  4. Just as they were panicking about this guy quitting, my resume showed up, with just the right qualifications.
  5. Job interview, job offer, 25 years later I’m still there, cruising towards retirement.

Even though I had never considered this as a career option, it turned out to be an awfully good fit for my personality.

Ok. A little background. The AP Reading is a series of events that happen every June where groups of AP teachers and college instructors gather to score the free-response sections of AP exams. For every 9 readers there is a table leader, who backreads and trains them. For each question, there is a question leader who goes earlier and is ultimately in charge of determining how that question will be scored: pick samples, design training, and then support table leaders. In my disicpline, there are about 75 table leaders for every question leader.

In January 2020, my initial invitation said “Reader” and I was mildly disappointed that i wasn’t invited to be a table leader but I also knew it was a little early: usually you have to read 6-7 years and I was year 5. By the time 2020 was over, I was a question leader, and have been the last two years as well. This is a huge professional leap to make in a year, and allows me to be part of really shaping the AP instruction in my subject, which I love. And it’s probably the single best thing I could have on my resume. But to end up here, things had to work just right.

My first job out of college was mediocre and I wasn’t particularly well paid but…while riding the train home one day, I bumped into a guy I interned for the previous summer and for part of the school year. He had left the small firm where I worked and was now a pretty senior person at a more prominent firm. He was launching a new line of business but could rely on all the back office and networking from the larger firm. He offered me a job. Interviews were all but perfunctory. Everyone I spoke with told me why I should join them rather than asking me why they should hire me. That launched my career in the direction I wanted to go and in much better circumstances than I had believed possible. I left after a few years to continue my education but recent employers have noted the experience I got at that firm many years ago as still being worthy of consideration when they are hiring for new roles.


I’m afraid I may have made it sound much more interesting than it was. We spent hours walking past each other without saying a word. When we did talk, it was either about boring everyday things or about long-term plans which never materialized.

I was teaching computing in London and about to buy a house there (naturally expensive as Capital city property is) when a private school offered me my perfect job. :sunglasses:

I got paid to teach chess, roleplaying and computer games in a country town with very affordable housing! :nerd_face: :smiley:

I’d say damn near perfect.

I got laid off from a job in Denver, and it took me six months to find anything. My dream was to start my own software business and move to the mountains. Probably Frisco Colorado. Well, I ended with a GIS/programming job in Breckenridge Colorado. Maps are way more fun than the average accounting software. I have a house outside of town waaaayayay up in the mountains on two acres. I love it. And due to COVID, I’m now working from home. It’s great.

I find it comforting to see that, for an overwhelming majority of posters, the stars really did align.


Me too. But it needs to be noted that to make the stars align, you have to work your butt off. That’s really the only dependable thing we have to get those stars just right. Sure there is plenty of randomness and ‘luck’.

Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I feel sorry for those that work their butts off, do everything right, and then, ultimately, get the shaft. I sure there are plenty of posters here that could speak to that.