All too often single people living alone mistakenly believe a higher degree of happiness could be found in romantic love or an excess of money. To that end, many singles launch a futile campaign for happiness via affairs and material things. However, my answer to happiness, peace, and joy, I discovered, is within. Every now and then, in order for me to relax and reconnect with happiness, peace, and joy, I separate myself from my routine and/or everyday cycle of life. My choices vary from a long unscheduled random drive to popping into a random theater or even a school or church program, to become a part of the happening. Sometimes I discover some really good entertainment. Another one of my favorite excursions is to visit an unfamiliar restaurant with a foreign or exotic cuisine and shock my taste buds with something different. To give my soul and spirit a jolt of culture shock, I wander into a church where most of the congregation does not look like me. In other words, a non-Black church. The paranoid Black side of me expects to be shunned and snubbed. However the open-minded side of me is open and ready for whatever happens. Usually I am well received and made to feel welcome; however, there have been times that my paranoid side got a chance to say, “I told you so.”
Sometimes I wander along a mountain trail alone or behind a group of hikers. The point is I do something to keep in touch with nature, life, and myself without the assistance of the electronic offspring of technology that has seduced the world. I don’t need a GPS system to tell me how to go around the block. God gave me a navigating brain. I enjoy reading a map. So shoot me! I don’t plan to get callouses on my backside from watching a marathon of television as I wait on life to happen. Nor do I relish the idea of being the family gofer. Go-fer this, go-fer that. And it has been my experience that seniors are the most routine and predictable people on the planet. Becoming too routine and predictable makes me feel like a puppet on the strings of a robotic hand. Stepping outside of past routines into an unpredictable presence enriches me and perhaps would enrich you as well.
Seniors should open their life and make room for surprise. Some things in life are simply too exciting to ignore. They come when we least expect them. They explode into the middle of the mundane and race through our veins faster than the feet on the dance floor of “Dancing With The Stars.” Allow life to intrude on your plans, your decisions, your certainties, your fears. We are not necessarily at the mercy of fate nor are we simply pawns in the senseless web searching of Internet Dating. I believe life without living it with exuberance is one of the saddest burdens a person can choose to carry. Loneliness and unhappiness are self-inflicted wounds. Last Sunday, I left the house going to church but ended up on a beach in Pointe Pume near Malibu watching a pod of Orcas diving through the water, and God was with me. If we miss the little things, we will soon begin to take love and friendship and blessing for granted. Perhaps even miss them entirely. When we do not cultivate a sense of surprise, we give in to the emotional dysfunction that suffocates the breath of life in us. Our hearts go sour and our souls go blind. We lack the open-armed exuberance for life that makes the human human. Within the next few days or weeks, step beyond the outer you and into the inner you - surprise yourself.
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