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Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
– Allen Saunders

Okay, now that we’ve all had a chance to settle into our resolutions for the year and recognize which ones are actually going to stick, I wanna offer a little inspiration from one of my favorite movies, Dan in Real Life.

Steve Carell stars in this comedy-drama about a widower and his three children who embark on their annual family reunion in New England. In the beginning, Carell’s character discovers his middle daughter (in his mind, not of age to date yet) is “in love” with a boy from her class. She declares she knew after only three days that Marty was the one for her. Carell is adamant, as a parent would so dutifully be, that it’s not possible to fall in love in three days.

He tries to educate his daughter on matters of the heart, bring her down out of the clouds, and teach her the “real” ways of love. That you can’t possibly know you want to be with someone the rest of your life if you’ve only known them for three days. Then Carell gets a dose of his own medicine when he happens upon a woman in the local bookstore. And in the end, must surrender to his daughter. Realizing how very wrong he was.

He parlays this learning experience into his weekly newspaper column on parenting, which is sage advice for us all:

Today, I wanna break from my usual format and talk to you about the subject of plans. Not so much my plan for this column but more like life plans. And how we all make them. And how we hope that our kids make good, smart, safe plans of their own. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, most of the time, our plans don’t work out as we’d hoped. So instead of asking our young people, “What are your plans? What do you plan to do with your life?”, maybe we should tell them this– Plan to be surprised.

So along with our resolutions to improve our lives– be it with work, relationships, spirituality, health– how about also resolving to stay open to the unexpected? Open to surprise? I don’t know about you but I love surprises. Life would be boring without them. And often, life has something better in store for us than we could ever imagine.

If we just stay open.

So how about you? What’s surprised you in your life in a good way? Something or someone you didn’t plan on but couldn’t imagine your life without?

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