When I was a young lass back in high school, I must admit, I was on the rather nerdy side of things. It wasn't the cool thing to do, but I just always had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. While studying for the infamous SAT and ACT (which I don't even think is absolutely necessary for college admission anymore, smh), I studied a lot of vocabulary. That was probably my favorite part (not the grammar obviously). The English language is quite interesting to me. Every once in a while in my adult life, I'll throw out a random or uncommon locution during a conversation... just to keep people on their toes! In saying all of this, this past week, I'm not sure why, but I got reacquainted with the wonderful word 'serendipity' (most likely because I experienced something serendipitous). It got me a little more interested in divulging in to the overall theme of this word. I've discovered that it has an intriguingly deeper meaning.
I'm still not sure whether it's a good or bad thing that my tangents often get the best of me. Probably a little bit of both. Anywho, I looked up the origin of the word Serendipitous (on Wikipedia, naturally. I love the hypertext!) and it directed me to a story called "The Three Princes of Serendip". I discovered that Serendip was an old Persian name for Sri Lanka. The story was about 3 princes who go on a journey and keep finding things that they weren't looking for necessarily. Good things! Apparently, the term was coined by an old English chap while describing the story in a letter to his friend (who both had the same name). Hypertexts man.
I was thinking this week about the whole concept of serendipity in general. The thing about it is, I really do find the best stuff in life without looking for it at all. This is true for many reasons I believe. When we are so busy looking for something, a specific thing, whatever that thing may be, we get too focused on the specifics. For example, finding a person to become romantically involved with. If you would have asked me a couple of years ago what kind of person I would end up with, I probably would've had some super particular definition (not gonna go into detail, haha, but you know what I'm saying people). If you also were to look at my dating history over the years, you'd see that none of those people were anywhere close to what I had in mind for myself. A great quote from the wonderful book 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' simply says, "to define is to limit". And that is absolutely true! Trying to specifically identify what you THINK you should have, you could miss out on what is actually the best for you. It seems as though every time I was single, I'd always be on some ravenous hunt for my next conquest...always coming up short! However, the moment I calmed down a bit and stopped ACTIVELY hunting... well, you get the point. Which reminds me of another great saying that goes something like, "once you stop looking for what you want, you find what you need".
There is also the simple fact that unexpected good fortune can be so much more fulfilling than expected good fortune. Think of it like this, if someone says they will give you $20, and they give it to you, awesome right? BUT, if you were randomly just walking down the street one day, and happen to spot a $20 bill on the ground, you'd be so much more ecstatic. You'd probably even tell someone later on that day about your discovery. You'd probably spend that 20 on something indulgent that you otherwise wouldn't have. In my life, I have found that unexpected happy moments or beneficial events that occur are exponentially more appreciated. It gives you a sort of feeling that everything is somehow right with the world. It can give you a sense of hope and amazement. Well it gives ME one at least.
I know that in our adult life, control is something that we love to hold on to whenever we can. We like to know everything before it happens. Where is the whimsy in that? I know some people who say they don't like surprises, but life is naturally full of them, good or bad. We take the bad, so why not take the good as well? I do believe that finding something amazing without looking for it is one of life's greatest pleasures. It kinda makes me wanna purposely NOT seek out anything in particular so that I can always be pleasantly surprised. It can also help with overwhelming expectations. So people, the next time you may find yourself down about something that you may not have found quite yet, remember that the thing you may NEED is right around the corner. This subject is pretty darn fun to think about if you ask me. Let me know all of your thoughts about serendipity!
P.s. I also looked up the opposite of serendipity, which happens to be an equally fun word to say; zemblanity. I don't use Z words often enough in my life...
P.p.s. I forgot my SAT and ACT test scores, but I was always annoyed with how important they were in the college admissions process. It's one freakin test! Anything could be a factor in how the results come out for an individual. Systems man.
P.p.s. I've always wanted to go to Sri Lanka. It's basically a stones throw away from what I think is one of the most beautiful places on earth...Maldives! (And since I'm not quite expecting anything, it would be totally serendipitous if everyone donated enough money to my website so that I could take a trip there ☺️!)