[3] 29 Lessons

Leave room for surprises.

As I've been diving into this series, it's been funny to write out lessons I have learned this last decade and realize that they are lessons I am still learning. The reason it's humorous is because it completely goes against the grain of what my younger self imagined 30 might be: The point of actualization, I think! But we don't reach a point of arrival, thank God; we are always growing, always changing, and it is good to be reminded of what we have learned and how far we have come.

January has shaped up to be much different that I anticipated, leaving me to wonder how different 2014 will be from what I imagined. Dreams had been written into goals, and goals organized into tangible steps, and I thought I was heading in a certain direction. I'm not.

But then I remembered that it's good to leave room for surprises. 

I'm a lover of surprises. It's a tough thing to do, surprise me; but if you're successful, I promise you'll be pleased by the reaction. I adore a surprise. Funny (and sad) I can't initially recognize life's surprises as the same sort of thing. Life is so full of the unexpected. Just when we're sure we're set in our ways and that it's a good thing, we're forced to reckon with the fact that none of us are ever really in control at all. Fighting a change of direction is a bad idea. If you yield gracefully to a new plan, you eventually find yourself wondering why you ever doubted that things would be okay.

A few weeks ago, I was pretty focused on my recent let-down. I mulled over what I could do to get everything back on the track I imagined was the right one. And then, perhaps as a gentle reminder that things work out, I got a note from a friend of a friend that was so encouraging. It was filled with possibility and ideas and support. And then I thought, "What if I could dothis instead of that? Wouldn't I like it more? Wouldn't it be even better than the first plan?"

I'll tell you what. It will be. 

A disappointing surprise collided with an unexpected solution, and though I don't know what the outcome will be, it's the element of surprise that's making me hopeful and excited. 

Our younger selves thrived on surprise, you know. We didn't know what was coming and we didn't care. We made a choice and jumped in feet first and then when a new opportunity came up, we took that too. Who says that growing older means we have to lose the element of surprise? Who says we can ever know what's around the corner, or that to not know is a bad thing? There is always room for more. 

So sit back and relinquish control, I say (ha! and try to do). Because life is full of surprises.