I woke up this morning to discover that the 1997 graduating class of Grover Cleveland High School in Reseda, Ca had a 20th year reunion last night. I didn’t attend because, first and foremost, I had no idea that it was taking place. I guess I missed the FB memo. But such a milestone moment is certainly cause for reflection.
Earlier today I found myself thinking about, for lack of a better phrase, the constant surprise of existence. By that I mean the fact that, no matter how much life experience we’ve acquired, the present moment and every moment that has preceded or will follow it is, on some level, a complete surprise to us. On some very fundamental level I think it’s true that for every single one of us, life is an endless series of surprises. And I think on some level, we all know this is so.
It’s easy to miss the surprising nature of existence. Since existence has a kind of rhythm to it and the appearance of predictability, the ever-present element of surprise can sometimes go unacknowledged. Much of existence ends up looking and feeling pretty similar for an array of reasons. But the surprise is there, at the core of existence, nonetheless.
Our existence begins in surprise– isn’t it surprising that we should have ever been born? It ends in surprise– do any of us really know exactly what death will look and feel like? And though I brush my teeth every day, sometimes the toothpaste feels different in my mouth. Who knows why? Said another way, could I have ever imagined what would go down between 1997 and 2017? Could any of us? Maybe the surprising nature of existence is easier to see when we look backward rather than inward.
That existence is more surprise than it is predictable unfolding of moments, might be an easier idea to lean into for some than others. It’s easier for those of us that don’t mind surprises or who have a strong sense that the surprises of existence often tend toward the good rather than the bad.
Knowing what a day or an experience will likely bring is an important part of a lot of peoples’ game plans. But at a certain point, life will teach each of us to be cautious of expectations and be prepared for the unexpected. At some point the surprising nature of existence will announce itself. It’s announcing itself now if we are able to hear it. May we be pleasantly surprised!