One of the lessons I have learned over the course of my life is that you just need to cultivate serendipity. Serendipity is the pleasant surprise that suddenly occurs without any planning on your part. You decide to go out to eat and the restaurant is having a happy hour. You drive to the park and happen to spot a rare bird or animal. You are walking down a street where you don’t normally find yourself and old friends appear for a quick catchup. This is exactly what happened to us today.
Rosanne and I had dropped Joe off for an event and then decided to go a few more blocks, park the care and walk an area we don’t normally frequent. We had a nice walk in the early evening sunshine, caught up a few errands when we happened to pass stores that made that possible and got a little exercise in the bargain. As we passed one of the may restaurants in the area, a familiar voice called out to us. Our friends were having dinner with one of their college age sons who we see very little lately. We joined for a while — catching up on current events, discussing some possible future projects and just enjoying each other’s company. As it happened, we finished just as Joe let us know that he needed to be picked up — another serendipitous moment, if a small one.
While, by its very nature and definition, you can’t plan for serendipity to happen, you can take actions that make it more possible. If we had simply driven home after the drop off and not went for a walk, there would have been no chance at all of meeting our friends. We simply wouldn’t have been in the right location at the right time. Getting out of the house doesn’t always come with extra benefits but sometimes — and that is the important part — it can. If you don’t go out and engage in the world, you never know what might happen. You don’t give serendipity a chance to make your day better and expand your life in other ways.
You never know what can happen in London unless to visit
On the Millennium Bridge with the view to St. Paul’s Cathedral
I think this is true in every aspect of our lives, not just where you decide to visit and walk. Making yourself available for serendipity us also important in your work, your hobbies, your relationships — everything. Whenever a single friend bemoans of the unavailability of people to meet, and perhaps, I always recommend that they get out into the world and among people. They can’t expect to meet friends — or girlfriend/boyfriends — if they never place themselves among serendipity. This doesn’t mean you have to hang out in our clubs or bars, engaging in the age old mating human mating rituals. Any group, any club, any hobby, any interest holds potential for serendipity.
Rosanne and I are a great example of that. We met, purely by accident, on the first night of my first Fall semester in college. I had been at college over the summer, but Rosanne had just returned for her Junior year. I had performed in a musical all summer and had decided to try out for the first play of the season. Rosanne had to audition as she was on a theater scholarship at the time, so there we were and serendipity occurred. Rosanne was cast in the play and I was made stage manager, even though I as only a freshman. That meant that we would be in close proximity nearly every night for the next 3 months. Even more, we found we lived in the same dorm, too. 30+ years later we are still together, but we may never have met if we hadn’t placed ourselves in that serendipitous location.
Get out in the world and give serendipity a chance to work its magic. Put yourself in position to accept the good things that can arrive in your through nearly pure accident. Great things can happen much more than you might think possible.
Previously on End of the Day:
- Difficult relationships – End of the Day for May 25, 2014
- A “normal” Saturday – End of the Day for May 24, 2014
- Don’t feed the trolls – End of the Day for May 23, 2014
- When Opportunity Knocks – End of the Day for May 22, 2014
- A simple night – End of the Day for May 21, 2014
- What are your secrets? – End of the Day for May 20, 2014
- Did someone get the number of that bus? – End of the Day for May 19, 2014
- Communication and confidence – End of the Day for May 18, 2014
- Attention, Mindfulness and Code Words – End of the Day for May 17, 2014
- Not ready to retire…in any way! – End of the Day for May 16, 2014
- Partners, friends and humanity – End of the Day for May 15, 2014
- What to do? What to do? – End of the Day for May 14, 2014
- Il Piccolo Pisolino (A Little Nap) – End of the Day for May 12, 2014
- It’s the small things – End of the Day for May 11, 2014
- A day off, more or less – End of the Day for May 10, 2014
- The importance of stopping – End of the Day for May 9, 2014
- Expectations of change lead to disappointment – End of the Day for May 8, 2014
- Loneliness – End of the Day for May 7, 2014
- Some days are best when they are over – End of the Day for May 6, 2014
- Control your technology, life, work, don’t let it control you – End of the Day for May 5, 2014
- On tradition, ritual and the smaller moments of life – End of the Day for May 4, 2014
- Of boats and oceans and foxes – End of the Day for May 3, 2014
- Off to the islands again tomorrow – End of the Day for May 2, 2014
- End of the Day for April 2014
- End of the Day for March 2014
- End of the Day for February 2014
- End of the Day for January 2014