Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.

Ann Patchett

In Ann Patchett’s 2011 novel “State of Wonder,” Dr. Marina Singh is a pharmaceutical research scientist who ventures into the Amazon jungle to find her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, and bring back information regarding the status of Swenson’s research. The reunion between the two women is fraught with unexpected revelations that profoundly impact both of their lives. Here, the tenacious Dr. Swenson cautions Marina, urging her to consider the potential opportunities that may lie before her. Patchett’s words are a reminder to all of us that we should avoid being so rigid in our pursuit of one goal that we miss out on other chances for discovery and wonder. By embracing a receptive and flexible approach to life, we can open ourselves up to fresh possibilities and experiences, even if they don’t always align with our original intentions.