Children love surprises, because youth is naturally a time for optimism and because most of their limited experience tells them to expect something good. As you grow older, of course, the balance of experience tends to shift.

Surprises more often equate to the sudden discovery that your transmission is shot or that you're about to be socked with the unexpected penalties of the alternative minimum tax. In the long-run, you might adopt a blended perspective--approaching surprises hopefully but with caution, suspending snap judgments, adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

Such circumspection is

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