I know that some people like everything in life to be organised in advance, but I love surprises and think that there can be great joy in a surprise. I love Christmas and birthdays, but I really like to buy someone a present that they’re not expecting, just because I saw something that I thought they’d like. I love to receive surprise presents.
When I was younger, if I was reading an exciting book, I always felt compelled to find out what happened at the end, but these days I like to wait and find out at the end. If someone tells you the result of a match that you’ve recorded it can ruin the whole experience, as does the person who has to tell you the end of a film or book.
I’m sure that just turning up on the doorstep of a lonely person is a beautiful surprise. My mother loves to buy flowers for herself, but also tends to buy those special deals in supermarkets or garden centres, where they are two bunches for the price of one, then she takes them to one of her friends who is shut in. I can imagine the pleasure that a shut-in person gets just from knowing that someone thought about them, but I know that my mother enjoys being the bringer of the surprise too.
Doing a job that has been on hold for a long while can be a delightful surprise for a spouse. Relationships can become mundane and predictable and a good surprise every now and again can prevent a couple taking each other for granted.
When it comes to buying surprises for people, I’ve often just seen something in a shop that I thought a friend or family member would like, but surprises can be equally wonderful when they are planned. Buying the right surprise is often dependent on listening throughout the year. Last year, for my birthday, my husband Barrie got all the family to club together and buy me a harp. I had wanted to play the harp when I was a teenager, and for some reason had mentioned it a couple of times during the previous year. I was absolutely delighted when they gave it to me, and it has become my favourite hobby.
Planned or unplanned, we should look out for opportunities to do something to surprise someone else – and just look at the expression on their face.