The Unexpected



“Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.” Carl Sandburg

I love Sandburg’s view of the unexpected. Many people dread the unplanned. Like myself, they plan everything to the nth degree, leaving little room for the unforeseen.

Because my plans for my life had not worked out, and I was not expecting the unexpected, I lost hope of a dream I had. Yet, out of the blue, at the ripe old age of 46, the unexpected happened to me. I met the man of my dreams and married him. My anticipated dreams did not come true, but the unanticipated reality was even better.

Looking forward to a recent trip to Hawaii, I was doing what I always did before a trip: carefully designing every moment. My husband encouraged me to plan a few days, but to leave a few days to the unexpected. Honestly, those turned out to be the best days of discovery, excitement, and wonder.

When teaching, aren’t we rewarded by the unexpected? The light bulb that turns on for a student, the lesson that blows it out of the park, the thank you from a student, colleague or principal? Aren’t those the best moments ever?

I turned 50 this year, and I am going to expect the unplanned. As I think about that, my stomach fills with butterflies, my heart rate increases, and I smile. The thought of the unexpected brings intrigue, excitement, and hope. It makes me seek to be and do the best right now, awaiting new adventures just across the horizon. So, I will revel in the moment of surprise when my husband presents me with flowers or when a beautiful sunrise greets me on my way to work. I will embrace the unexpected.


7 responses »

  1. This is beautiful. I really like this Slice, and I almost feel like I feel you relaxing as you write it! Loved this line: My anticipated dreams did not come true, but the unanticipated reality was even better.

    I’m such a planner, too. I get stressed out by the unexpected. I’ll remember your Slice and try to savor the unplanned a little more.

  2. Ha! “The ripe old age of 46”! At 65, I learned long ago to enjoy the unplanned, to step out and walk to anywhere, to step in and drive until the sunsets, stopping to enjoy every little view or town or park or trail or art gallery or museum that presents itself. Or the unexpected — turning the unwanted with a sigh into an experience and story. LIfe is hard; Life is short; smile and enjoy it; it’s better than the alternative.

    Great post. I tweeted it so others can learn from your unexpectedness.

  3. A life lesson for sure! Some of those moments are the ones we remember the most. Life has a funny way of throwing surprises at us. It’s how we react that makes a difference.

  4. I love this slice. I am very much the same way and you’re right, when we let go and let the unexpected happen, good things follow. Enjoy this new chapter in your life. 🙂

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