"Spontaneity is the quality of being able to do something just because you feel like it at the moment, of trusting your instincts, of taking yourself by surprise and snatching from the clutches of your well-organized routine a bit of unscheduled pleasure." ~ Richard Iannelli
Everything in my life used to be very well planned. I always made plans for days, weeks, and even months in advance. I guess you can say that it went with my type A personality; which I have been working VERY hard at changing! Not that there is anything wrong with planning ahead; many times you have to. But what happens to us when every day becomes a series of planned events without any room for the unplanned and the unexpected? Don’t we lose some of the magic in our lives when everything in it is so planned and organized?
My brother and I are totally opposite in so many ways, not in matters that really count such as our character. Rather, the way we live our lives tends to be dramatically different at times. One of the main ways we are different is the fact that I am a planner and he is not. As I have gotten older, I have actually become somewhat envious of this fact. Part of me had always wanted to be more spontaneous. I was sick and tired of always thinking ahead. He wouldn’t think twice about jumping in his car and heading somewhere on a whim. I always needed to have an itinerary, a plan. Because with a plan, I felt safe. I was prepared for anything.
What I have come to realize though is that preparation does not always make you safe. There are no guarantees. You can have the best laid plans and in the end, your whole life can blow up anyways. You can take care of your health your entire life and end up with a life threatening illness. You can save for your retirement or child’s college fund and have it all taken away by a volatile stock market. So if the unexpected can happen anyways, why we are planning every detail of our lives so much? It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t plan for some of the really important things. I just don’t think we need to plan every detail of our lives from sunrise to sundown. We need to give ourselves more unexpected moments.
I recently started dating someone who is very spontaneous. He tends to plan appropriately for important events, but does not usually think days or months ahead like I do. He lives more in the moment. At first, I thought this would be very difficult for me. I had begun to be more spontaneous before we started dating by trying to take some lessons from my brother; but I did have my limits, or so I thought. What I have found through spending time with him though, is that many of the best moments are the ones we didn’t plan for such as a last minute pizza run for dinner or a walk after work. As a result of this, I am finding myself being more spontaneous even when I am not with him. Yes, I still make plans in advance with friends who live far away, I schedule doctor appointments, and I plan for church events; but in between these planned events, I am doing spontaneous things on a daily basis. It has not only been freeing to me, but has helped me be able to live my days in a more fulfilling way.
There is so much to be learned from unexpected moments, the ones we didn’t plan for. In a way, they are God’s little (or big) gifts to us. Those moments where we are not thinking months or even minutes into the future can be the very thing that puts a spark into our lives. Sometimes it means not deciding how to spend your Saturday until you wake up that morning and ending up having the most glorious day ever. Sometimes it means turning left instead of right and discovering new and beautiful scenery. And sometimes it’s saying what’s on your mind without censoring it and truly connecting with another human being. In the end, spontaneity affords us the opportunity to learn more, explore deeper, and connect more fully with our world and those in it. And what a blessing that can be…