Just this morning I asked someone for a surprise. A SURPRISE? What kind of madness is this? Are you out of your Midult mind? Midults find surprises extremely challenging. Our whole lives are about planning; preserving that delicate equilibrium between chaos and control. A surprise is surely an injection of the unwelcome unknown. Greeted with, at best, badly faked pleasure and, at worst, temper.
But, crucially, a surprise that has been planned is the best kind of surprise. You know it’s coming. You are prepared to arrange your face in a suitably delighted, inspired way. But the best part of the surprise is still in place: the part where someone does the thinking for you while thinking about you. The plotted and diarised surprise has all the deliciousness and none of the trauma.
And here’s the other thing: when you have actively asked for the surprise you kind of have to be nice about it. No asking for the receipt. No po-faced silence. This is the time to put on your big girl pants and take delight in whatever has been bought/arranged/made. Even if it’s really not your thing, it actually is totally your thing because it’s happening at your request. So you are empowered to be not at all passive aggressive, spoilt or arseholic about it. Which means everybody wins.
So there I was this morning, saying to a lovely, generous-spirited type, “Please plan a cultural surprise for Sunday because I never do or see anything except the stuff that I do and see.” So when Sunday afternoon rolls around I know I’ll be absolutely marvellous. See? I’m in a good mood already…