A few days ago, my 4 year old son and I were discussing Wonka Bars. He wanted one and I was explaining to him that I wasn’t sure if “they” made them anymore but that I would “look into it.” This is how I end many conversations with him when I know I can’t give him the answer he wants.
After soccer class, we headed over to Bartell’s to purchase various toiletries. Upon ringing up my purchases the checker said, “You get three free candy bars.” Apparently, they had a special going on in which, for every $30 you spent, you got a candy bar. I hurriedly scanned the flavors and grabbed my three bars. My son had already hightailed it out of the store and was dancing around outside the sliding doors.
Here’s where it gets good. After we got home and had lunch, I secretly opened one of the candy bars. San Juan Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt. And what did I find inside? A $100 Golden Ticket from Bartell Drugs! I got a golden ticket. The wonder and surprise were fantastic. They are not feelings to which I am accustomed. I was literally speechless. Not only did I get three free candy bars, but I also got a $100 Golden Ticket. And all because I needed some Epsom salt (which happened to be buy one, get one free) and tooth paste.
All of this made me realize how important it is to savor the unexpected. I’ve never been one for surprises. I am a planner by nature. Yes, I got some free stuff, which is exciting for a bargain shopper. But the best part was the surprise. This made me wonder. What is it about a surprise that makes people so giddy?
I’ve always thought that I would hate a surprise party. I’d be thinking about who was there and who wasn’t Who might be hurt they were left out? I have a knack for anticipating the worst. I think it’s actually one of the things I do best. Of course, it drives my family crazy and I’m sure it’s driving me crazy. But I come from a long line of worriers and, the way I see it, I’m really just fulfilling my duty.
I recently read an article published by the Scientific American that states that even if you think you don’t think you like surprises, your brain does. That same article also said that the brain likes unexpected pleasures better than expected ones. My point is that, contrary to what I thought about myself, that surprise really made my day. And it wasn’t about the $100 shopping spree. It was the pure joy from experiencing something unexpected.
Take the time to enjoy a surprise. And by the way, I looked into it and “they” do still make Wonka Bars. My son will be so surprised when he gets one.