A Thought About Serendipity

Ameland_ BollumThe word serendipity can be described as “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident” or “the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident”.  Either way you describe it, there is an element of “luck” or “good fortune” to serendipity, but also the expectation that one may learn
how to allow it to work for them in their daily life.

There are many elements to enjoying retirement. Many of us start out believing that if we can just keep ourselves busy enough, we will never have to deal with that demon “boredom”.  We try to structure our lives with activities and schedules that mimic the life we had when we were working.  We get up at 6:00 am, off to tennis at 8:00 a.m., coffee at 10:00 and so on.  Many of our holiday adventures also become highly regimented tours with specific places, dates and prescribed sites all checked off of complex “to do” lists as if our very success counted on it.

So many of us have learned, through many years of education and working careers, to remove serendipity as a natural process from our actions. We have all been trained to plan every waking minute of our lives in order to reap the maximum benefit from our efforts. Allowing for serendipity was considered akin to negligence because of the element of chance that it brought to a process. We were taught that “happy wanderers” were people for whom there was no direction in life and that they were somehow doomed to failure. I’m sure we have all heard the old adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. However, as with many things you learn, you find that there are no absolutes.

So how does serendipity come into play as a way of improving our lives? Just think back to when you were young and you had that period of free time when there was no expectation of completing some task. Or for some of us that first trip oversees with a friend. What often made those experiences seem so fantastic was that we allowed things to just happen. We threw ourselves into our endeavour only expecting that something fun was about to happen and that we would experience new things, places and people. Often the most memorable experiences came from something totally unexpected. As you think back to those somewhat reckless days you begin to realize that allowing for serendipity can help you to feel young again. Taking chances on new activities or frequently changing your daily schedule can create space for seeing the world in a different light or making one stop to consider different points of view. Increasing variety in your life is also the best way of dealing with boredom because suddenly the list of possibilities begins to grow exponentially. You may find that a little serendipity can help you to realize that you always have” the rest of your life before you”.

In the end it’s up to you to loosen up on your life’s script if you want to enjoy all the good things that life has to offer.      HOME


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