Surprise! A Road Map to Happiness

Not everyone likes surprises — even good surprises.

Hard to believe? Well, have you ever suggested a birthday gift idea to your spouse instead of leaving it up to them to surprise you?  I rest my case.

I have since learned that we are doing ourselves a disservice because the more we attempt to control our lives, the more we may be missing out on some unexpected happiness.  This is the gist of a book I just finished called Surprise! – Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected.

I was surprised to learn that people studied things like “surprise”.   It  was a delight to read.  In fact, “surprise” and “delight” are things it tells us to add more to our lives, and I couldn’t agree more.

How I happened to pick this book up to read is serendipitous — in an engineered sort of way:  I had a problem; I found a solution to my problem and then the unexpected happened — I was surprised.  Let me explain.

MY PROBLEM.  I have always read a lot, even before I joined a book club, but pre-book club, I could be flexible in which books I read. But with the need to find a specific book within a certain time frame, I found I was either playing Russian Roulette with the local libraries (Maynardville or Claiborne Co.) to see if they could get it within the time frame in which I needed it, since they may not have enough copies for the demand OR spending more money than I wanted to purchasing a book from Amazon that I did not want in my permanent collection.

MY SOLUTION.   A friend had been telling me about the benefits of joining the Knox County Library system for years (Click here for directions.  If you are heading into Knoxville, it is conveniently located  on E. Emory Rd. in Halls Crossroads just two doors down from the first major intersection.)  The time was now ripe for me to consider paying the $40 annual membership.  I took the plunge.

The benefits are many.  It is convenient, has a large, extensive book collection, and a beautiful new facility where you can stop and browse to rest if you are out and about for the day running errands.

MY SURPRISE DELIGHT.   But the one benefit that I was surprised to find delighted me the most was their “New Book” section — it is huge and I was drawn to it immediately.  I had forgotten how important it was to me back in Ohio before we moved here.

To me, browsing through the new book section is like taking a happy pill.  It is up there with daylight savings time.  I always find something that I never would have stumbled upon on my own.   And the Surprise! book is a case in point.

I am thankful for stumbling upon this book as it gave me further insight into myself and additional techniques for fine-tuning my Road Map to Happiness — a very worthy goal.

UPON REFLECTION.  One way I “embrace the unpredictable and engineer the unexpected” in my life here in Sharps Chapel, TN is through my daily walks.   I look forward to being surprised  by some of the simplest things:  seeing a fox, hearing a Pileated Woodpecker,  saying hello to a neighbor who is also out walking, being caught in the rain.  I am rarely disappointed.  I know that when I happen upon things that surprise or delight me, I feel more happy and alive.

Life is an Adventure!