From a young age, I’ve been smitten for surprises.
I love not knowing what’s beneath the wrapping of a present. Christmas stockings have always been a favorite since they’re packed with tons of tiny surprises. This is probably one of the reasons I love pen pals too: It’s not necessarily what the handwritten letter from a friend says but those exciting moments right before opening a sealed letter that supercharge me. My mom fed this love in me by tucking notes in my school lunches, sending unexpected care packages when I was in college, and creating puzzles and games as I grew up.
Surprises from her and others have always made me feel excited, appreciated, and loved.
Knowing how they make me feel, I sprinkle surprises into the lives of my family and friends. I routinely pack hidden messages in C’s luggage when he travels, and all of our kids were treated to mirror notes and little surprises to celebrate the unexpected. I love to find gifts for people I know will appreciate them just because. I make mini-playlists that I think will brighten individuals’ days.
When I can make other people happy, I feel happy.
Surprises make me happy, so I continue to surprise others.
That is one of the main reasons why planning a scavenger hunt for my friends has been on my Life List for a long time.
The opportunity arose last fall when I wanted to do something special for A’s birthday. Her husband and she love escape rooms, so I wanted to make a scavenger hunt involving clues. I gave her the first clue on her birthday, which was a puzzle she had to solve telling her where and when to be at a specific place to get her second clue, which kicked off the rest of the scavenger hunt.
I enlisted the help of other friends, each of whom was posted in a different location with the next clue in hand. No one knew what the sealed clue they held said or where the hunt led, so each new friend she picked up along the way participated in the rest of the challenge.
The clues included word games, number puzzles, and a photo challenge.
Ultimately, we ended up at one of our favorite breakfast spots where we had a champagne brunch to celebrate A’s birthday.
We had a memorable morning together — and it all started with this scavenger hunt. I think A (and our other friends) enjoyed participating in it. And I definitely had fun planning the scavenger hunt’s route, creating clues, and watching my friends solve the puzzles together.
I can officially cross this one off my Life List, but given the right opportunity, I’d love to do it again someday.