Book Jeff

Surrender to Serendipity

Now that it’s all behind us, Lyndsey and I are finally decompressing from our Long December and the craziness that was Fall 2023. Between my writing, speaking, and traveling, plus her schooling, working, graduating, and planning most of the wedding, we had more than a few things on our plate. We both were looking forward to the honeymoon and a chance to get away, be alone, relax, and stop our schedules for a few days.

Except the honeymoon was planned and scheduled, too. And we were anything but alone. We left the morning after the wedding and were so exhausted that we slept past our 4 a.m. alarm clock and came close to missing our flight. From there, it was two nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Two nights at the Contemporary Resort. Four nights cruising on the Disney Wish…with a ton of crowded park time, restaurant reservations, and dinner with friends in between.

Our favorite moment? It wasn’t at a park. A resort. Or a restaurant. Nor was it swimming with the sting rays on Castaway Cay or a late-night show on the Disney Wish. No, our favorite moment was staying in our stateroom on Christmas Day and watching Home Alone, together. Don’t get me wrong. Everything else was great, too. But watching Home Alone is the memory we both go back to again and again.

Who knew? After all the planning. All the packing. All the preparations, our favorite memory was a result of none of that. It was a moment of unscripted serendipity. We didn’t plan for it. Pack for it. Or even prepare for it. It’s Christmas Day, we are on a billion-dollar boat, and we are, as Kevin McCallister, the main character in Home Alone says, “eating junk and watching rubbish.”

There’s a valuable lesson here. If you require meticulous planning, goal setting, and having a roadmap for success, remember there’s also a magical force at play that transcends our carefully laid-out plans—the power of serendipity. Life, with all its unpredictability, has a way of surprising us.

Surrender to it. When you do, you will soon discover that serendipity presents you with opportunities you didn’t plan for but desperately needed. Disagreeing with the need to micromanage every aspect of our lives enables us to be more adaptable, resilient, and open to the fun that unfolds when we least expect it. Walt Disney once put it this way: “If you keep busy, your work might lead you into paths you might not expect. I’ve always operated like the princes of Serendip, who went on quests not knowing what they would find.”

How are your goals for the new year going so far? Is everything unfolding as planned? Or are you already seeing setbacks and running into the inevitable roadblocks? If so, remember detours don’t always delay us from our destination. Instead, they often lead us to unexplored territory and unexpected treasure.

I try not to think about the cost of the cruise and how we may have paid the most expensive cover charge ever for watching Home Alone. But it’s a priceless memory that will last a lifetime and a reminder to slow down, embrace the magic of the moment, and savor serendipity. It was money well spent.

And you can, “Keep the change, ya filthy animals!”

“This house is so full of people it makes me sick. When I grow up and get married, I’m living alone.”

— Kevin McCallister

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