Serendipity (ser·en·dip·i·ty /serənˈdipədē/)
noun: serendipity; plural noun: serendipities
The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Before reading on- I would like you to ask yourself, “what was my reaction to the title?”
Did you have one? If so, keep it in mind and you can jump to the next paragraph. If you didn’t, that’s quite alright! Give it a few more seconds and see if your brain cells generate an answer. I’ll rephrase that question to you later on, and I’m curious to know if your answer changes.
Chances are, regardless of knowing the
definition beforehand or seeing it here for the first time, you may have experienced some confusion or even made some kind of nonverbal noise to show your skepticism. I get it. I chose this title with purpose and I still feel a little apprehensive because I know what it is suggesting is in no way easy. Because it encourages you to be consciously aware of leaving space in your life for what is, essentially, “luck” and/or “chance” to occur and spark happiness. That really does sound absurd, doesn’t it?
But that’s kind of my point.
No one can plan serendipity. No one can open up their calendar, select one random day out of the year available and say, “This one. This is the day for serendipity.” Because then it’s no longer an event by chance, and calling it serendipity is not applicable.
So, when do you know if something is serendipitous? How do you create it? Where do you find it?! Well, as anticlimactic as this may be- I can’t answer those questions for you. Because, much like hindsight, serendipity is almost only recognized after the fact. A discovery made after the experience has already ended, or after the moment has faded, or after the person has left the room.
Yes, I can hear the reply, “What’s your point then, Alexis? Why ask me about something and then tell me I can’t go after it, I can’t make it, and I can’t go out to find it?”
Because my intention here was never to give you any answer, but to offer an idea to you instead. An idea that I hope sticks with you long after you have finished reading.
My point here is hopefully to assist you, our dear reader, in recognizing that your opportunity to engage with something positive, something that could bring you a feeling of happiness by complete chance, exists continually. Every day.
“Okay, but how do I go about leaving “room” then?”
I hear you, and I think about this question a lot. It’s difficult, there’s no doubt, to keep up an unwavering hope for a moment you may-or-may-not have that may-or-may-not bring you happiness. And “happiness'' is the elusive word here. Nearly everyone on Earth wants to be happy, right? It’s certainly talked about enough, especially throughout social media. Ask any of our counselors here at Timber Creek what one common theme each of their clients’ share, and I bet it’ll have something to do with happiness, or the lack thereof.
What we forget to remember, and often fail to be aware of, is that happiness is a feeling. It is an emotion, and emotions are to be felt frequently and regularly as you continue throughout life. Happiness is not a single checkpoint to be marked off on a to-do in life, somehow heralding you’ve successfully achieved it once and for all. That’s not how we understand emotions to function, right?
Of course, there are some emotions we are more than happy to only experience once in our life and never again! Or ones we would love to feel as frequently as humanly possible! But, there’s just no way to guarantee how often, or infrequently, you’ll experience any particular feeling again in the future. Emotions are ambiguous and imprecise things that way. Happiness included.
So, how does serendipity tie into understanding how emotions, like happiness, work? Well, rather than spending your days restlessly searching and yearning for a way to make happiness permanent- a feat I don’t think will lead you to any feeling other than disappointment- instead, try to shift your focus to filling your life with moments and people who matter; with things that will be present and continuous, regardless of permanency. I think you may find something quite lovely will happen: because now you can be aware of the ability to create your own happiness with the ingredients life gives you, day after day. You have the capability to recognize serendipity as something that happens to you far more often than not. Serendipity truly relies on self-awareness.
As you continue on your way today, I hope you can walk into each situation, interaction, or experience with a sense of curiosity- filled with wonder if this is a moment you could be savoring with happiness in the future. We never know where, when, or how serendipity will appear- but it will. Isn’t that kind of exciting?
Now, read the title again. What does it make you think of? Did your answer change?
“May you find the ingredients to make your own happiness, may the recipe never elude nor fail you, and may you always leave room for serendipity to find you.”
-Alexis, Certified Life Coach