Spontaneous Me   1 comment

spontaneousAccording to the Oxford English Dictionary – and yes, I read the OED for fun – spontaneous means “of personal actions; arising or proceeding entirely from natural impulse, without any external stimulus or constraint; voluntary and of one’s own accord.” It comes from the Latin sponte – of one’s free will, voluntarily – and first appeared in common usage in 1656. (Interestingly enough, the word spontaneity appeared five years earlier, with its first usage being recorded in 1651.)

Okay,” you may be asking yourself, “why the etymology lesson?”

Well, aside from the fact I’m a word geek (see previous comment about reading the OED for fun), my therapist told me I need to work on be more spontaneous. Actually, he told me I should just wake up one morning and do something without having planned it out in advance, but I couldn’t resist phrasing it the way I did. Get it? Work on spontaneity?

And back to the post…

Here’s the problem with that idea:

I have no clue what to do if I haven’t planned something out in advance. If I don’t have plans for the day, I will literally lie in bed for most it, with a purring cat, listening to NPR and dozing. At least until the cat (or the child) gets hungry and starts complaining. Or clawing. (Which unfortunately for me could apply to either cat or child…) While this is a pleasant way to spend the day when I’m feeling under the weather, it doesn’t work so well the rest of the time.

Let’s be honest here. As an introvert, my idea of spontaneity is to start reading a book (or two) without having finished the first book or two sitting on the nightstand by my bed.  For example, I’m currently reading four and listening to a series of audiobooks. No, wait, I’m reading five – two fantasy novels and three biographies of dead British royals, as well as listening to two different stories on audio. Oh, wait, I forgot the latest volume in the graphic novel series…

Anyway, I’m digressing, and you probably get the point.

It’s not that I haven’t tried being spontaneous, it’s more like it doesn’t work out for me all that well. Turning down a corner to see what is at the end of the street usually involves my getting lost. (Have I ever mentioned how much I love my GPS? I’ve given her a name – Peony. She’s wonderful.) Deciding to go somewhere on the fly generally means the place will be closed when I get there. Going away for the weekend with no destination planned…  Hold on a minute, that one’s never actually happened. Never mind.

Getting together with friends has always involved everyone pulling out their calendars in an attempt to find a night we’re all free at the same time so we can do a girls’ movie night out, or, G-d forbid, go out for brunch. Inevitably, a child/spouse/co-worker remembers at the last minute they need us at that time and day and no other. “But I told you about the bake sale/10K I signed up for/family reunion my mother says I have to go to…” No. No, you didn’t. Really. If it’s not written in the calendar, it was never mentioned.

So, since I have no extremely limited experience with spontaneity, I am approaching it in the same way I am everything else that is new in my life. With baby steps.

On a child-free day of vacation, I went to an art museum in the Berkshires to see a van Gogh exhibit. While it was supposed to be a spontaneous trip, the museum pass was checked out on the day I wanted to go (the fee was a bit steep for this single parent), so I put it on reserve for two days later, and watched my spontaneity drift on out the window as I grocery shopped instead. (This ended up being a good decision as there was absolutely no food in my house, which counts as a national catastrophe in my mind.) When I did get to the museum – the exhibit was lovely, if very crowded – I tweaked my trip just slightly by going home via the outlets in Lee rather than simply driving back the way I had come.

It felt good.

I may not be ready to get up each day with no plan but to live and experience all the world has to offer, but I have shown myself I don’t always have to have every activity of each day planned out weeks in advance. Like I said, baby steps.

Maybe next week I’ll throw caution to the wind and head to the movie theater one night with no idea of what is playing.

That’s right. Watch for me. I’ll be the one living on the edge. Oh, and the ballroom dancing lessons start next Thursday.


Posted August 27, 2015 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

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One response to “Spontaneous Me

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  1. Pingback: Where am I Going? (And Will There Be Chocolate When I Get There?) | Tales of a Marathon Widow

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