I love surprises. Don’t you? Well, nice surprises, not scary or injurious ones. The problem is we can never control when or what happens…good or bad. If we like to always know the outcome, then we are faced with two realizations: a) not as much of surprise means not as much delight, or b) we have control issues. Either of these takes a lot of the fun out of it. It’s like trying to figure out how people are going to pull off your surprise party. Sort of ruins it wouldn’t you say. Why not rather just enjoy the surprise?
I love to wander, especially at night. It’s nice because there aren’t so many people getting in my images at night. I expect that sometime the wandering bug will get me in trouble, especially when carrying a big camera on a big tripod. So far I am unscathed. On this night I was wandering the streets of Oxford, England. With all the Oxford Colleges spreading over blocks and blocks, it created a labyrinth of wall lined streets. Some streets just ended, some with big gates, and some opened up to pub infested intersections. You can see the beautiful, daunting door near the end of this street. But the uncertain part was the curve to the left.
I was unsure of where it leads. There was no light that direction. Who knows what kind of surprise lay in wait? Thugs? Maybe. But certainly it must be safe, we are in Oxford of all places. There are smart, un-dangerous people who live here. If only I could know exactly what was around the corner, then I wouldn’t have fear or anxiety.
Isn’t that the way it is about a lot of things in life? If I knew what was around the corner, maybe I wouldn’t feel this fear or anxiety or whatever it is we feel. This is when the control freak in all of us loses out on enjoying the surprise. Yeah, there could be something scary around the corner, but there could be something amazing too. Not taking the risk of moving forward because we are afraid of what might happen or what we might feel, certainly squelches the delight of what we might find.
So I see two options for us when faced with an uncertain corner ahead. We can choose not to move ahead into the uncertain and not enjoy the surprise…the sheer delight of something wonderful or the feelings that might attend difficulty. Or we can choose to embrace the mystery AND enjoy the delight, whether it be a happy or an emotional rollercoaster. Personally I think when I am scared or fearful that it is an opportunity to really enjoy more of life because I’m feeling more in life.
I love this quote by Bangambiki Habyarimana:
“You may sit home and be safe. But danger and adventure is what makes your life meaningful.”
A meaningful life embraces the surprises, good and bad and experiences the feelings, pleasant or awful. But it means being brave and taking steps forward, sometimes in the face of fear, regardless of the consequences. That is the heart of a wanderer and adventurer. Who knows what we’ll find around the corner…let’s go find out!
May you be brave in 2016.
What choice am I afraid of moving into? Why?
What is there to lose if I try it? What is there to gain?