Erin Schaden
5 min readJun 18, 2024


As a general rule, I am not a fan. Mostly because I am a control freak. And I would rather know than not know. So surprises have always been hard for me…

It is hard also to surprise me because I am a thinker, so if there was any surprise possible on the horizon, I have likely thought of its possibility more likely than you have thought about surprising me. I know, I have issues…

And finally, I don’t like surprises because they are usually bad. Things coming up and shocking you out of your normalcy and routine. Things that tend to disrupt and interrupt. And I am not a fan of that either. I am one of those beings who tends do the same things every day in the same order. So surprise almost always means a derailment of all I know and count on.

And so I have held the life long position of no surprises, please!

However, I am changing my mind. At least a little…I am also the first person to become bored: with routine, with people, with relationships, with schedules and the like. I need to mix things up every once in awhile. And while my craving for order and routine only worsens with the passage of time, so too does my need for a little adventure and excitement. I feel like I am always on the verge of running away and never leaving, no in between. Just always on my way to making sweeping changes that will change everything, all at once, and settling into the every day familiar with little to no change ever. I am and have always been an extreme person.

But my cessation of compulsive shopping has taught me just how much I used to rely upon those little “surprises” on my doorstep to brightened my day. I didn’t know how much I liked looking for it online, then waiting for it and then its gift appearance on my front porch. But not having it anymore has showed me some things about myself that I had been missing for awhile now.

I missed the little surprise arrivals even though they weren’t really a true surprise, I mean I am the one that sought it out and purchased after all. But when it showed up, I was always happy about it. A small lift in my otherwise banal day. And I came to depend upon always having something to look forward to, something tangible that would cajole me out of the humdrum of every day living.

But I got over it. I do not miss those packages anymore, or the mad accumulation of things that I didn’t need, didn’t really want, or value, appearing on my doorstep requiring me to now unbox it, break down and recycle the box and then attempt to find a place for this new whatever the fuck it was in my house. Which in case you have never been here, doesn’t need a fucking thing! It is small and I have it decorated nicely, but it needs nothing further…ever.

What I do know is that my whole relationship with myself is changing and with it too comes my feelings about the nature of surprise and interruption to routine. I think I am becoming more present with all this living stuff. Like I don’t need the dopamine hit to dislodge me from myself anymore. Or maybe I am just kidding myself and I am just in the middle of a lovely reprieve from myself and my way of living. Regardless, here I am, doing things differently and enjoying it…even with all the sameness that is my every day.

I guess what is happening is that my level of acceptance about things is increasing, being it routine or surprising. It doesn’t really matter, they are just different directions on the same continuum. And that is just life, the living continuum, where not one of us really gets to take anything for granted. I mean, life will always be boring, right up until the point something exciting or shocking or surprising, or awful, or wonderful happens.

So I guess this whole need of mine for excitement and disruption is becoming assimilated into something other than my need for those daily dopamine hits. I can just be happy when something lovely happens but not make too big a deal about it and I can be just fine when something not so lovely happens. It is all just life and living and it is all happening as it should.

So I am doing my best to embrace the surprises life throws my way, the good and the bad. I do not need to brace against the hardship of surprises I didn’t see coming that I do not like or enjoy, and I do not need to seek out ways to create drama in an otherwise relatively stable life. Life will do both for me as it turns out, and I don’t need to really control or manage any of it. Which is a different kind of freedom…

And today’s surprise is that I just wrote a whole bunch of other thoughts about all of this and when I went to copy and paste it on my site, I accidentally copied over it, thereby erasing a great deal of what I said…and now it is gone forever. And though I could try to recreate it all, I have run out of time to do so and so this is the blog you get today. I am not sure why I was supposed to stop here, but it appears this is where I end today.

So my relationship with surprise is changing and I think, at least I am realizing that when you are living fully in the present moment you don’t need to create a whole bunch of fictitious drama of your own making…you can just trust that life will do it for you, sooner or later. And it really doesn’t matter whether you are going up or coming down, regardless of your direction, you will eventually come around to the other direction because that is just how this whole living thing works.

And perhaps somehow learning to live within each day, without the need to create disruption and drama brings you to a place where the surprises life throws at you are enough, nothing else need be added or subtracted, because you can always count on life to bring each in equal measure. Not of course in the order you would like or stringing together great fun surprises but instead there will always be a need and a want for just regular life and all its attendant issues. And this whole living thing will take on new meaning, if you allow yourself to become brave enough to withstand the tedium of every day living. The shock and awe will just take care of itself and perhaps the surprising things in this life will create just enough divergence from the every day familiar to keep us engaged, keep us focused and keep us from losing our minds…




Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out for more.